Institutional Analysis in Outback Australia

"The Australian outback is a unique ecological and social landscape. The people who live here cope with harsh and variable environmental conditions, particularly in terms of rainfall and the availability of surface water. The human population density is very low and the dominant land use is grazing, while other land uses include agriculture, mining, tourism, defence, and nature conservation. These harsh environmental factors frame all human activities in these regions and, in turn, these activities can have adverse environmental impacts, shaping what is possible in the future. To manage these impacts, all tiers of government impose institutional constraints, such as legislation and regulations that seek to influence the activities and aspirations of individuals and communities. The research project Outback Institutions used the Institutional Analysis and Development framework to assess institutional arrangements in this context through four case studies in outback regions of Queensland and the Northern Territory. The IAD framework was found to provide an effective means for structuring an institutional analysis. However, the room left for interpretation made comparison between case studies challenging, especially when comparing different stakeholder driven processes and analysing cross-scales feedbacks and institutional dynamics. The case study analyses found that the lack of real influence and power of community members in the decision making process and the lack of rules to stipulate and govern the monitoring of water use were two of several aspects of the institutional arrangements that did not enable the alignment of formal government legislation and regulations with individual and community actions and aspirations."
institutional analysis--IAD framework, water management, IASC