The commission research paper, Water Rights Arrangements in Australia and Overseas, was released on 3 October 2003. The paper compares the legal, organisational and regulatory arrangements for managing water rights, against accepted best practice principles. It reveals significant differences among the benchmarked jurisdictions in the way that water rights are defined, allocated, regulated and administered. In some jurisdictions, water rights are the personal property of water users; in others, they are vested in the State. Such differences have implications for both the management of water rights and the efficiency of resource allocation. Twelve case studies were prepared to assist the understanding of the complex legal, organisational and management arrangements of the jurisdictions studied. Case studies were prepared for the Murray-Darling Basin, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Colorado River Basin, California, Colorado, Chile, Mexico and South Africa. These case studies should be read in conjunction with the main report. The case studies are available from the Productivity Commission's website at


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