James Arvanitakis: Progress on water and the trap we need to escape.

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CPD Fellow James Arvanitakis considers the ‘progress trap’ that has captured public thinking in Australia about water allocation. The ability to allocate water and the benefits that flow from this has trapped Australia into a vicious cycle which political leaders seem increasingly unwilling to end.

“Whole communities have come to rely on the over-allocation of water rights that has made many (though not all) successful. As it has become increasingly obvious that the river is dying, any policy to reverse this has never been successfully implemented.”

The way forward on this issue requires more than a simplistic ‘live or die’ debate about the future for water-rights dependent communities. What is instead needed is coordinated and meaningful reform, which seeks neither to abandon water-rights dependent communities, or principles of sustainability.

“I am not some inner city hippy demanding water cuts – what I am trying to highlight is that we need to confront this issue. There is a need for some serious structural adjustment here – and despite promises made to irrigators as late as the 1960s that water supply would be continuous, this has to change.”

Read the full article at The Punch here.

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