Water and society
The relationship between water conditions and regional socio-economic outcomes
In 2018–19 PEAN showed it is possible to use government data to explore how water management has affected communities and businesses in the Murray-Darling Basin. We integrated government data on water conditions with socio-economic data. We worked with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to explore how we might compare the data. We then developed and tested several repeatable methods for measuring and comparing indicators of change for both water and society. Methods included application of an Adaptive Capacity index across the southern Murray-Darling Basin, and exploration of changes in water and society indicators over time. Machine Learning methods were also used to explore community profiles across the Basin.
The results revealed correlations rather than causes of change. There were limits to what we could infer due to limits in the indicators and source data, particularly differences of spatial scale. The project showed the potential for future progress as datasets expand and are reported at suitable temporal and spatial scales to allow for the application of causal analysis methods.