The purpose of this paper is to identify factors contributing to the success of demand management measures in a period of severe water shortage in urban areas of Queensland, Australia; to reflect on the role of demand management measures as a policy tool integral to Australia's National Water Initiative.
The paper takes the form of a case study and literature review.
Australia's National Water Initiative, with its emphasis on market‐based reform, failed to provide adequate mechanisms for dealing with severe drought in Australia's urban areas. In contrast, a mix of regulatory, fiscal and educational initiatives encouraged Brisbane residents to reduce their water consumption by 57 per cent. These initiatives were successful because they formed part of a comprehensive, pervasive and persistent campaign delivered by two tiers of government working in conjunction and exhibiting strong local leadership.
The paper identifies the need to include demand management measures – including regulatory, fiscal and educational measures – as well as market‐based reforms in national water policy.
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