As much as 70 per cent of all water extracted in the world is used for irrigation. But what if it were discovered that irrigation policies intended to increase efficiency and therefore save water could in fact be doing the exact opposite?

On this episode of Policy Forum Pod, hosts Maya Bhandari and Bob Cotton hear from Quentin Grafton and Sarah Wheeler, two authors of a new paper published in Science: ‘The Paradox of Irrigation Efficiency’.

Topics discussed include the Murray Darling-Basin, why regulatory bodies are so often captured by industry – and how our water policies have left us up the creek without a paddle. Listen here:

Quentin Grafton is Professor of Economics at Crawford School, an ANU Public Policy Fellow, and Director of the Centre for Water Economics, Environment and Policy. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Policy Forum.

Professor Sarah Wheeler is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and the Associate Director of Research with the Centre for Global Food and Resources at the University of Adelaide.

Show notes | The following were referred to in this episode:

A picture of health with Sir Harry Burns

Is Asia sleepwalking to war? with Brendan Taylor

Policy Forum Pod is available on iTunesStitcher, and wherever you get your podcasts. We’d love to hear your feedback for this podcast series! Send in your questions, comments, or suggestions for future episodes to You can also Tweet us @APPSPolicyForum or find us on Facebook.

This episode of Policy Forum Pod was written and produced by Maya Bhandari, Martyn Pearce, and Nicky Lovegrove.

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