Robertson, Joshua: $5bn used to safeguard Murray-Darling from drought largely in vain, says study

Joshua Robertson

$5bn used to safeguard Murray-Darling from drought largely in vain, says study‘, Guardian Australia, 2 March 2017

Reports on the political aspects of water planning in Australia.

The [ANU] report, Water Reform and Planning in the Murray-Darling Basin, argues the plan’s target of recovering 2,750 gigalitres was not based in science but a bid “to help resolve a political impasse with the [South Australian] state government” …

The ANU study found investments in irrigation to lift “drop-per-crop” efficiency had failed to deliver water savings on a basin scale. “We found the average volume of water applied per hectare is virtually the same in 2014-2015 as it was in 2002-2003 at the onset of the millennium drought,” [Director Quentin] Grafton said.

Grafton said the lack of meaningful water diversions back into the river system would “mean a whole range of negative implications for people that rely on the river, especially when the next drought comes”.

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