The changing value of Australian tropical rivers
Jackson, Sue, Stoeckl, Natalie, Straton, Anna, and Stanley, Owen (2008) The changing value of Australian tropical rivers. Geographical Research, 46 (3). pp. 275-290.
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Until recently the objectives of tropical river management were narrowly construed: the development imperative drove resource policy. During recent decades, community attitudes to river and water management have changed considerably and the national program of water reform, the National Water Initiative, is accelerating alterations to the way that water is used, managed and priced. A broader range of values and imperatives is now influencing water resource management policy. Not least is the concern over the ecological impacts and economic inefficiencies of the large-scale hydrological schemes that once excited the public's imagination. This paper reports on a recent study of social and economic values of tropical rivers conducted by the authors for an Australian statutory research and development corporation. The study shows that the values associated with tropical rivers have changed and diversified over time with growing societal awareness of the contribution made by unregulated, healthy river systems to human wellbeing and cultural identity. As a consequence of substantial social change, tropical river management must now contend with a more complex array of societal values and water management objectives.
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