UQ’s Risk and Sustainable Management Group, led by Australian Research Council Federation Fellow Professor John Quiggin and based at the Schools of Economics and Political Science, started the project in 2004.
“The objective of this research program is to apply new developments in economic theory to the design, modelling and evaluation of policies designed to promote ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable reform of the Murray–Darling system,” Professor Quiggin said.
He said the main objective for 2005 had been to incorporate uncertainty into a simulation model of land and water use in the Basin developed in 2004.
This task was completed late last year and the new model has now been applied to design property rights in the presence of uncertainty.
“The first working version of the model has found there is a possibility that improving the flexibility of water markets might, in some circumstances, lead to an increase in water use and therefore in the severity of environmental problems,” Professor Quiggin said.
He said while a major focus of research had been sustainable management of irrigation water, other crucial issues had arisen such as groundwater, tree planting and clearance which had potential impacts extending beyond the Murray–Darling Basin.
These would be addressed in the next year.