In the last twenty years, policy makers in Australia have been forced to acknowledge that it is not possible to perpetually supply more water at a low cost. Consequently, the country has begun to focus on water resource management through legislative and institutional change?attempting to allocate water in a more economically efficient and socially and environmentally acceptable manner. This book provides insight into the challenges of institutional change, as well as valuable lessons on the design of property rights for complex resources. Contributors from across disciplines address pertinent issues, such as irrigation in the Murray-Darling basin, one of Australia's largest drainage divisions; the progression from common law riparian rights to share-based entitlements that encourage sustainable water use; and the potential outcomes of the recent National Water Initiative, a wide-ranging strategy to improve water management and simultaneously maintain healthy groundwater and river systems.

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