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Queensland’s cuts to water red tape could leave outback bores high and dry. kdliss/Wikimedia Commons

Queensland risks running the well dry by gifting water to coal

On Wednesday, Queensland’s parliament passed water reform legislation that will make it easier to take and use water, particularly for large mining and agriculture projects. The state government also recently…
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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? 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. 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. 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…
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…

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