The National Water Initiative has made a ‘‘significant contribution’’ to better managing Australia’s natural resources, according to a Productivity Commission draft report.
The report was tasked with assessing the outcomes of the NWI and related water reform efforts and consider the potential scope for improvement.
National Irrigators Council chief executive officer Steve Whan said the draft report showed progress had been made.
‘‘The commission’s draft progress report on national water reform makes it very clear that a huge transformation has taken place in Australian water use since the reform process started in the 1990s and particularly since the 2004 National Water Initiative,’’ Mr Whan said.
‘‘Irrigators and their communities have been at the forefront of this agenda with the water market driving efficient decisions on water use and Australian farmers leading the world with investment in water efficiency and productivity.’’
The interim report said water planning arrangements were in place for most areas where water was used intensively.
‘‘While the full benefits of providing water for the environment will take time to realise, there is already some evidence of improved ecological outcomes from environmental flows,’’ the report said.
The final report is due to be completed in December.