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Murray Darling

Analysis and Comment (37)

Spending on water-saving infrastructure could expose Murray-Darling farmers to debt and drought. Spending on water-saving infrastructure could expose Murray-Darling farmers to debt and drought. Michelle Bartsch/Flickr

The latest Murray-Darling plan could leave farmers high and dry

The federal government’s approach for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has shifted again, and now favours water-saving infrastructure over purchasing water rights. But is it the right move? The new scheme…
Carp have spread throughout Australia’s waterways - but CSIRO is hoping to bring a new genetic weapon to bear on them. Carp have spread throughout Australia’s waterways - but CSIRO is hoping to bring a new genetic weapon to bear on them. Kletr/Sutterstcok.com

Male-only gene trick could leave invasive fish species floundering

A genetic modification that creates male-only populations could give us a new weapon against invasive fish such as carp that plague our waterways. “Daughterless technology”, which works by removing females…
Selling water back to farmers could work out for the Murray River too. Selling water back to farmers could work out for the Murray River too. Flickr/Tourism.Victoria

Murray River water sales: better for farmers and the environment

The Commonwealth Government’s decision to sell up to 10 billion litres of its water allocation in the Murray-Darling Basin back to farmers could prove to be a win-win for irrigators and the river. On the…
The Barmah-Milewa forest is an ephemeral landscape of unique biodiversity. The Barmah-Milewa forest is an ephemeral landscape of unique biodiversity. Flickr/Parks Victoria.

Unknown wonders: Barmah-Millewa forest

Australia is famous for its natural beauty: the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Kakadu, the Kimberley. But what about the places almost no one goes? We asked ecologists, biologists and wildlife researchers…
The lessons learnt from the Millennium drought may not help us prepare for the next Big Dry. The lessons learnt from the Millennium drought may not help us prepare for the next Big Dry. Flickr/thoughtfactory

Australia is not ready for the next big dry

Three years ago in March 2010, southeast Australia was still in the grip of “the big dry” or the “millennium drought” - billed as the worst drought since European settlement. Dams across the Murray-Darling…
The Murray cod is popular amongst fishers, and also critically endangered - at least according to the IUCN. The Murray cod is popular amongst fishers, and also critically endangered - at least according to the IUCN. Flickr/guochai

Australian endangered species: Murray Cod

The Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii) is the largest native Australian freshwater fish species, and is probably the most iconic. The species’ credentials are impressive: it can live for more than 50 years…
With so many interests vested in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, implementation will remain a challenge. With so many interests vested in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, implementation will remain a challenge. mike (away for a while)/Flickr

Basin Plan is historic but let’s not lose the whole story

Reaching agreement on a Murray-Darling Basin Plan is undoubtedly a significant political accomplishment. The water resources of the Murray-Darling have been the basis of disagreement between states, industries…
To know if the Basin Plan is working, we need to know what results we’re aiming for. To know if the Basin Plan is working, we need to know what results we’re aiming for. savelakebonney/flickr

Watch the water - keeping an eye on the Murray-Darling

Will the Murray-Darling Basin Plan put an end to a century of squabbling? It’s unlikely. There are already those who suggest the water going back to the river isn’t enough, the rivers need more. And of…
The Plan includes the eventual delivery of “up to” 3200 gigalitres of water to the environment. The Plan includes the eventual delivery of “up to” 3200 gigalitres of water to the environment. Jeremy Buckimham MLC/Flickr

Finally: Murray-Darling Basin Plan signed into law

Yesterday, Minister for the Environment Tony Burke signed the Murray-Darling Basin Plan into law, after the Murray-Darling Basin Authority had made the final changes he requested. One hurdle remains. The…
Changes to Murray Darling policy are a big win for SA, but NSW and Victoria aren’t impressed. Changes to Murray Darling policy are a big win for SA, but NSW and Victoria aren’t impressed. Feral Arts

Murray-Darling: why Australia needs intergovernmental cooperation

On Friday, the Prime Minister announced that the Commonwealth will spend $1.7 billion to increase water return to the Murray-Darling River by a further 450 gigalitres. The announcement is a big win for…
There will always be conflict over how water is used, but we seem to be getting closer to agreement. There will always be conflict over how water is used, but we seem to be getting closer to agreement. augustusoz/Flickr

Murray-Darling proposal brings us closer to shared understanding

Sharing water between different groups in society is almost inevitably a very contentious issue. Throughout the world, there are daily conflicts between people about how water can be used; at an individual…
Is layer after layer of regulation the solution to the problems the freshwater life of the Murray-Darling Basin face? Is layer after layer of regulation the solution to the problems the freshwater life of the Murray-Darling Basin face? Kristian Golding

Micro-managing the Murray-Darling Basin: what’s in it for fish?

This is part two of a series investigating the effect Murray-Darling water policy has on acquatic life. It’s told from the perspective of the new water minister, a Murray Cod called Mac Peelii, who last…
Everyone wants a functioning Murray-Darling Basin, but it makes sense to get there the most cost-effective way. Everyone wants a functioning Murray-Darling Basin, but it makes sense to get there the most cost-effective way. Tim Keegan

Murray-Darling: keeping government out of the bedroom and taxpayers out of farming

A common catchcry used to bemoan any proclivity of the state to reach into individual decision-making is “keep government out of the bedroom”. The equivalent mantra for economists involved in analysing…
Flooding risk is often used as an argument against greater environmental flows for the Murray-Darling, but graziers would benefit greatly from floods. Flooding risk is often used as an argument against greater environmental flows for the Murray-Darling, but graziers would benefit greatly from floods. Richard Kingsford

More flooding in the Murray-Darling basin could be good news for farmers

The history of our development of the Murray-Darling Basin is one of constraining and constricting its rivers’ flows. Many of the basin’s floods are now captured in dams for later constrained release to…
Does this guy know something Tony Burke doesn’t? Does this guy know something Tony Burke doesn’t? Phil Nicholls

Looking at the Murray Darling through a native fish-eye lens

Let’s imagine for a minute that a Murray cod – let’s call him Mac Peelii - replaced Tony Burke as water minister, responsible for the Murray-Darling Basin. Apart from the obvious issues associated with…
With so many vested interests, opposition to the plan will likely last a long time yet. With so many vested interests, opposition to the plan will likely last a long time yet. SA Eco Images Pty Ltd

Resisting the Murray-Darling Basin Plan – in whose interest?

As the final version of the Murray-Darling Plan heads to Parliament there seems little doubt that the debate will continue. The sticking point remains the volume of water to be returned to the environment…
What’s wrong with this picture? Ask the community. Proposed changes to the MDBP were largely regarding limits to the amount of groundwater to be extracted. What’s wrong with this picture? Ask the community. Proposed changes to the MDBP were largely regarding limits to the amount of groundwater to be extracted. ECO IMAGES PTY LTD

Is anyone really listening? The Murray Darling and the limits to community consultation

On 28 May 2012 the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) handed down its long awaited revised blueprint to restore health to the Murray Darling Basin. The plan was the result of a 20-week community engagement…
Irrigation infrastructure, buy-backs, environmental flows, agricultural communities: lobbyists will say anything to win the Murray-Darling war of lies. Irrigation infrastructure, buy-backs, environmental flows, agricultural communities: lobbyists will say anything to win the Murray-Darling war of lies. Eco Images Pty Ltd

Lies, dam lies and water plans: the MDB Plan and the states

When the water planning process for the Murray-Darling Basin first commenced, an experienced colleague of mine noted that this was shaping up to be a lying contest between farmers and environmentalists…

Aqua nullius: the upper Murrumbidgee River

The proposed Murray-Darling Basin Plan has been one of the most controversial pieces of public policy in Australia’s recent history. There has been the predictable divide between irrigators calling for…
Given our neo-Platonic visions of universal ecologies, when it comes to restoring waterways we’re up the proverbial creek without a paddle. Given our neo-Platonic visions of universal ecologies, when it comes to restoring waterways we’re up the proverbial creek without a paddle. Flickr/Annadriel

Science’s stagnant thinking: our rivers need a revolution

I’ve been away in the UK for a few years – and what do I find when I come back? In the Murray Darling we are still arguing over inputs (the amount of water to be returned to the river) instead of focusing…
Money isn’t the only way of measuring the Murray-Darling’s environmental benefits, but it’s a useful one. Money isn’t the only way of measuring the Murray-Darling’s environmental benefits, but it’s a useful one. CSIRO

Complex but rewarding: putting a value on the Murray-Darling plan

One of the big challenges around the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s Proposed Basin Plan is to work out just how much the basin’s environment would benefit from the plan. When the Guide to the proposed…
The science tells us what’s good for the environment; it’s up to others to decide the priorities. The science tells us what’s good for the environment; it’s up to others to decide the priorities. thinboyfatter

The science behind the Murray-Darling Basin plan

CSIRO, like many other research institutions, has helped provide research, models and data to inform the development of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. But the proposed Basin Plan, which was released on…
South Australian communities know what it’s like to live without water. South Australian communities know what it’s like to live without water. AAP

What happens when there’s no water? How the Murray-Darling plan might affect communities

When the Murray Darling Basin Authority commissioned me in 2011 to examine the social impacts on the Lower Murray and Lakes communities of low flows and drought, I was confronted with irrigation farmers…
We know water is important to environmental health, but a lot of the details are still fuzzy. We know water is important to environmental health, but a lot of the details are still fuzzy. wazzasworld

Will the Murray-Darling plan do enough for the environment? The truth is, we don’t know

The release of the Draft Murray-Darling Basin plan earlier today, and the announcement that 2,750 gigalitres would be returned to the environment, was followed by predictable outrage. Irrigators said that…
In a changing climate, urban water planning needs to be more flexible. In a changing climate, urban water planning needs to be more flexible. Joe Castro/AAP

Water we waiting for? The unfinished business of water reform

The National Water Commission released its Third Biennial Assessment of the 2004 National Water Initiative (NWI) in September. The NWI is an agreement between all state and territory governments and federal…
Irrigators say they like the Windsor Inquiry, but are they looking after their own interests? Irrigators say they like the Windsor Inquiry, but are they looking after their own interests? AAP

Inquiry slams ‘Swiss cheese effect’ in the Murray-Darling Basin

The Windsor Inquiry has handed down its report on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. It recommends a halt to water buybacks, more investment in irrigation efficiency and a new governance model for the Basin…
Arguments over water in the Murray Darling are about profits, not life and death. Arguments over water in the Murray Darling are about profits, not life and death. jon gos/Flickr

Can the Murray Darling once again lead the world in water management?

Almost every major river basin in the world is significantly impacted by humans. The situation in the Murray Darling Basin (MDB) is certainly not unique. In river basins all over the world, communities…
A decision on the Murray-Darling is on the way, but will it be evidence based? A decision on the Murray-Darling is on the way, but will it be evidence based? AAP

What’s the science behind revised Murray-Darling environmental flows?

The past few days has shown that the issue of water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin is “back on the boil”. The current discussion is about what evidence is credible and how “evidence” is used to support…
Farmers are fired up, but it’s not as bad as they think. Farmers are fired up, but it’s not as bad as they think. AAP

Murray Darling Basin can feed the nation if we just get it right

Reports of the death of the Murray Darling Basin food bowl are grossly exaggerated, to borrow a phrase from Mark Twain. Farmers have been up in arms about plans to give more water to the environment, but…
It’s blue skies for some parts of the Basin, but others are left wanting. It’s blue skies for some parts of the Basin, but others are left wanting. AAP

Government myopic on Murray Darling’s complex needs

The controversy over the Murray Darling Basin Guide centres on the need to strike a balance between the social, economic and environmental uses of water. The difficulties in undertaking this task are most…

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