Diverse drivers of unsustainable groundwater extraction behaviour operate in an unregulated water scarce region

Khair, Syed Muhammad and Mushtaq, Shabaz and Reardon-Smith, Kate and Ostini, Jenny (2019) Diverse drivers of unsustainable groundwater extraction behaviour operate in an unregulated water scarce region. Journal of Environmental Management, 236. pp. 340-350. ISSN 0301-4797


Depletion of groundwater resources is of increasing concern in many parts of the world; however, farmers'perceptions of resource status and the role these have in influencing decisions about groundwater use are rarely considered and even more rarely analysed. This paper investigates the links between farmers' perceptions of resource condition and drivers of groundwater decline and patterns of groundwater use in the semi-arid highland region of Balochistan, Pakistan. Key factors associated with groundwater over-exploitation in this region, identified by farmers, include: high returns from irrigated fruit and vegetable cultivation; drought; mass installation of tubewells; inefficient irrigation practices; government policies and subsidies that promote groundwater development; and lack of effective groundwater governance. Critically, while a majority of farmers in this study believe that groundwater is a limited resource, there is little evidence to indicate that this then leads to sustainable groundwater use decision making within these communities. Without effective intervention, groundwater resources in this region will potentially suffer the consequences of human behaviour associated with the use of common pool resources identified in Hardin's (1968) seminal ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ paper. This study exemplifies the importance to the future of rural communities in water scarce regions of effective governance, regulations and economic incentives for sustainable water management.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Applied Climate Sciences
Date Deposited: 22 May 2019 04:18
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2019 04:19
Uncontrolled Keywords: common pool resource; over-exploitation; water scarcity; tubewell; groundwater governance; subsidy
Fields of Research : 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management
16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160505 Economic Development Policy
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960905 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Water Management
B Economic Development > 82 Plant Production and Plant Primary Products > 8298 Environmentally Sustainable Plant Production > 829805 Management of Water Consumption by Plant Production
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.12.077
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/35761

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