Economic viability analysis of agro-economic management of saline drainage

Hanjra, Munir and Blackwell, John and Mushtaq, Shahbaz (2008) Economic viability analysis of agro-economic management of saline drainage. Technical Report. Charles Sturt University , Wagga Wagga, Australia. [Report]

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This report presents findings and lessons on salinity management technology and research that shows promise in Australia and Pakistan.

The aim of the project was to evaluate the economic viability of salinity management at selected sites in Australia and Pakistan, using Serial Biological Concentration (SBC) of salts. The specific objectives were:
• To critically evaluate existing salinity management options in Australia and Pakistan.
• To determine the technical and economic viability of SBC in Australia and Pakistan, later amended to irrigating from shallow skimming wells in Pakistan, to reclaim abandoned land.
• To link the economic analysis with the polluter pays principle, by demonstrating salt management options for public-private investment policy.

The analysis focused on Box Creek (Murray Irrigation Area) in the southern Murray Darling Basin of Australia and Nabishah Bala in Chaj Doab (the area between the Jhelum and Chenab Rivers) which is an intensively developed and significantly productive irrigated area of the Indus Basin of Pakistan. SBC in this report has been considered as a saline water management tool for implementation either at the level of individual farms or at a community level within an irrigation area. The results show that SBC offers potential for salinity management in both countries. Its wide adoption requires further analysis on its economic viability on-farm, across a range of biophysical and economic conditions. SBC can be economically viable but the pay back period may be up to 20 years. Salinity credits may reduce the pay back period to below 12 years. Thus, agro-economic management of drainage may become a viable option, given appropriate policy support for productive use of drainage water in saline environments.

The polluter pays principle in terms of 'salinity credits' has been used in this economic study to tackle the water salinity issue. In terms of salinity management, it is the amount of money the polluter is willing to pay for treating salt to minimise third party impacts or the acceptable return for treating salt. The application of a polluter pays principle, in terms of a salinity credit for treating a tonne of salt, may encourage public-private investment in salinity management.

The study recommends:
• Further research is needed to establish the economic and financial viability of SBC on a commercial basis. The concepts and lessons learned, however, are applicable to the management of salinity issues in arid and semi-arid regions.
• Market based instruments which can encourage the sharing of salinity management responsibilities among farmers and regulation bodies need to be researched and converted into institutional mechanisms to foster public-private investments in salinity management.

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Item Type: Report (Technical Report)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2008 Charles Sturt University: To the extent permitted by law, all rights are reserved and no part of this publication covered by copyright may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means except with the written permission of Charles Sturt University.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ Other
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ Other
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2011 07:45
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2015 23:27
Uncontrolled Keywords: salinity management; salinity credits; irrigation areas; Murray Darling basin; Pakistan
Fields of Research (2008): 14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140205 Environment and Resource Economics
05 Environmental Sciences > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050302 Land Capability and Soil Degradation
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070101 Agricultural Land Management
Fields of Research (2020): 38 ECONOMICS > 3801 Applied economics > 380105 Environment and resource economics
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4106 Soil sciences > 410601 Land capability and soil productivity
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300202 Agricultural land management
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960905 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Water Management
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9612 Rehabilitation of Degraded Environments > 961204 Rehabilitation of Degraded Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960601 Economic Incentives for Environmental Protection

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