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By: Peter Crawford

Water Security at Risk in Australia, China and Japan

Pages: 164 Ratings:
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Peter Crawford is well known in Australia and internationally for his leadership in reforming governmental organisations and institutions, notably in environmental and water domains. In recent years he has focused on the role of political ideas and influence on national approaches to water management and water security. He is now one of the few international experts, who is both formally qualified and sufficiently experienced to write a book exploring the way politics and public policy formulation currently interact with science, social science and multiple interests in shaping national water security.


In studying water security in Australia, China and Japan, Dr Crawford has shown that despite the great difference between the political ideologies of the three nations, the exercise of political power has frequently had similar adverse impacts on national water security outcomes - especially when independent, evidence-backed advice has been ignored. Equally, the way each nation has modified major river systems, by giving priority to economic development, has frequently compromised current and future efforts to achieve the sustainability of these systems and their potential to contribute positively to national water security.


It becomes clear as the book progresses, that deterioration in national water security not only threatens human and environmental welfare but, if unchecked, could undermine future national welfare and prosperity in each nation. Yet, none of the three states under review has assigned water security the priority it deserves nor developed a national strategy to advance future water security. Other states could well benefit from analysis of this kind, by assessing the extent to which current policies and measures are impacting on national water security, followed by formulation of a strategy explicitly designed to improve future prospects. 

Peter J Crawford has had a long career focused on the protection of the natural and human environment and the management of water resources, leading to many national and international books and reports. He is also the author of The Serious Business of Governing and Captive of the System, which deal with the role and responsibility of governments in shaping public policy, assessing national progress towards stated goals and carrying out necessary reform. In recent years, he has researched the influence of contemporary political theories and ideas on government policies and approaches. In writing this book, he has accepted the major challenge of assessing the state of water security in Australia, China and Japan, countries with vastly different political and administrative systems and differing levels of preparedness to face the future.

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