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Title: Triple bottom line reporting in the irrigation sector
Contributor(s): Christen, Evan (author); Shepheard, Mark  (author)orcid ; Meyer, Wayne (author); Stone, Christopher D  (author)
Publication Date: 2011
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Abstract: Most irrigation in Australia was instigated with regional socio-economic development as a primary goal. The irrigation schemes were developed with grand visions of settling the interior and providing farming opportunities to soldiers returning from world wars. Thus it could be said that the master planners in government had a fledgling version of the triple bottom line in their sights. These visions have partly been realised with evidence from the Murrumbidgee and Murray basins of significant inland populations associated with the irrigated districts and an annual revenue of $3.1 billion associated with an investment into irrigation infrastructure valued at about $10 billion (Meyer 2005). ... Irrigation development induces considerable environmental change, but the expectation has been in the past that the economic and social benefits would be greater than the environmental costs. However, public attitudes have changed over time, from enthusiasm for development and exploitation to greater concern regarding environmental issues and sustainability. Recently, the irrigation industry has found it difficult to communicate to the wider populace and government the benefits of irrigation to their regions and to explain the activities and investment undertaken to tackle the environmental sustainability concerns. To rectify this, irrigation water supply businesses are investigating using a reporting structure that includes financial, environmental, and social and cultural elements. This triple bottom line, holistic approach is intended to provide a more balanced view of water use, with socio-economic benefits and environmental consequences demonstrated. It is anticipated that this approach will lead to a more transparent and informed debate on the sustainable use of resources between all parties. This chapter will provide an overview the story of irrigation in the Murray and Murrumbidgee basins, their current environmental and socio-economic conditions and the context for sustainability performance reporting by irrigation water suppliers. Two case studies of irrigation company performance reporting will be presented. The concept of sustainability introduces expectations of a social licence as practical concerns for irrigation water supply businesses. These concerns about demonstrating responsible performance go beyond the legal reporting requirements for annual financial and environmental compliance reporting.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Defending the Social Licence of Farming: Issues, Challenges and New Directions for Agriculture, p. 47-56
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Collingwood, Australia
ISBN: 9780643101593
Field of Research (FOR): 079901 Agricultural Hydrology (Drainage, Flooding, Irrigation, Quality, etc)
180111 Environmental and Natural Resources Law
050209 Natural Resource Management
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments
960905 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Water Management
940405 Law Reform
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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Appears in Collections:Book Chapter

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