Examining institutional 'fit': A case study of environmental water allocation in New South Wales, Australia

Swainson, Rebecca Marie
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University of Guelph

Many jurisdictions have begun to use environmental water allocation to set aside water for ecological needs and to balance human and environmental demands for water. The opportunity exists to draw lessons from existing innovative EWA arrangements; however it is essential to consider what makes these institutions fit in their original location before considering transfer. The aim of this research is to identify the factors that contribute to the fit of institutions for EWA in New South Wales, Australia, and to explore their transferability. To accomplish this, an analytical framework was developed and applied to a case study of the Murrumbidgee Catchment, NSW. This research revealed that the key factors influencing fit include compatibility with existing institutional structure, compatibility with local economic context, and public support. These institutions would be most transferable somewhere with these conditions in place. Implications for the fields of institutional transfer and water management are discussed.

environmental water allocation, New South Wales, Australia, institutional transfer, water management