A new water policy option for Australia?

Collaborative water governance, compliance and enforcement and audited self-management

Cameron Holley, Darren SINCLAIR

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


One of Australia's greatest challenges is managing its scarce water resources. However, flaws in the design and implementation of collaborative water governance risk undermining Australia's water reforms. What then are the best ways to collaboratively govern water use; and how and in what ways can community engagement in water governance be reinvigorated? Responding to these questions, this study offers insights from a recent international innovation in collaborative water governance known as Audited Self-Management (ASM). This article provides one of the first empirical examinations of the performance of this innovative process that transfers day-to-day water management and compliance responsibilities under terms and conditions agreed to with a water regulator. Drawing on interviews and a survey, this article pinpoints the strengths and weaknesses of ASM for collaboratively managing water and analyses whether and to what extent this collaborative model provides a feasible policy approach for Australian water management. Although barriers to ASM's widespread introduction in Australia are identified, there are also several demonstrable advantages in its approach, not least ASM's capacity to deepen engagement of the agricultural community in water governance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-216
Number of pages28
JournalThe Australasian Journal of Natural Resources Law and Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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