Resource Policy & Management, and The Centre for International Economics, August 2003
- Review the attitudes and perceptions of pastoral water users in the great artesian basin (PDF - 1,036 KB)
About the publication
Pastoralists occupy the largest area of the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) and also extract the largest volume from it. The development of the pastoral industry in the GAB has become inextricably linked to the availability of its water. There is a wide variety among individual pastoralists in the way they use water now and how they want to see it managed in the future. Attitudes and perceptions drive the use of resources and so it becomes crucial for policy-makers to understand them if they want to facilitate change.
The Terms of Reference for this project were to survey a representative group of pastoralists across the GAB to determine those attitudes and perceptions that might hinder, and those that might facilitate, its management and implementation of Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative.
The questions on attitudes and perceptions were interwoven with those that related to another two projects being carried out simultaneously and led by the Centre for International Economics (CIE). They were the Landholder Contribution in Queensland and of On-Farm Costs and Benefits of Bore Capping and Piping. The entire questionnaire was structured so that each of the three projects could be analysed separately and cross-referenced. A total of 58 pastoralists across the GAB agreed to a face-to-face interview on their property.
The main findings were that:
- The majority of pastoralists rate the GAB as the most important NRM issue;
- They have a good knowledge of local pressure changes but not necessarily the state of the GAB as a whole;
- They respect the role of government and what is being done under GABSI but this may be one reason why there is not greater concern about pressure decline across the GAB;
- The change to capping and piping is heavily dependent on the government subsidy;
- Bore drains have been in use for a very long time and some pastoralists, particularly those with sheep, strongly prefer them and see no reason to change;
- The great majority of pastoralists who have capped and piped are delighted with the results;
- Financial constraints are an impediment to many but not all.
- There is concern about the long-term maintenance of a piped and trough system;
- Most see regulations requiring capping and piping of all bores as inevitable;
- Better distribution of water and reduction of wastage, followed by the availability of the government subsidy are the main reasons why people capped and piped;
- The reasons sometimes used to encourage capping and piping such as reduction of feral animals and preventing land degradation are not strong motivators.