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Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 21–32 | Cite as

ABORIGINAL PEOPLE’S ATTITUDES TOWARDS PAYING FOR WATER IN A WATER-SCARCE REGION OF AUSTRALIA

  • MERYL PEARCE
  • EILEEN WILLIS
  • TOM JENKIN
Article

Abstract

In Australia, governments are committed to water infrastructure developments that are both environmentally sustainable and economically viable. Consumption-based pricing is seen as a water conservation strategy. This has significant implications for Aboriginal communities, many of which do not pay for water use and experience economic hardship. This paper outlines attitudes towards paying for water use in five Aboriginal communities in South Australia. Inability to pay for services was a common factor hindering willingness to pay for water. While different factors were raised in different communities, most communities believed that water is a ‘cultural right’ that should not be paid for. The research found that strategies such as communication and community involvement in the decision-making processes around water supply are necessary to facilitate cost recovery and to promote water conservation.

Keywords

environmental and economic sustainability management user pays water resources water supply 

Abbreviations

ABS

Australian Bureau of Statistics

CDEP

Community Development Employment Projects

COAG

Council of Australian Governments

DAARE

Department for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation

DFID

Department for International Development

DWLBC

Department for Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation

SAMLISA

Strategy for Aboriginal Managed Lands in South Australia

WTP

Willingness to pay

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Notes

Acknowledgements

Veolia Water (Australia), Department for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation (DAARE), and Flinders University are thanked for funding the research. Simon Wurst, Grant McLean (DAARE), and Jonathan Churchill (Adelaide University) for their contribution.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of GeographyFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia

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