Home > Murray-Darling Basin Authority releases draft plan but disagreement continues

Murray-Darling Basin Authority releases draft plan but disagreement continues

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article image The Murray-Darling Basin Authority's draft plan has left irrigators and environmentalists at odds
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Yesterday the Murray-Darling Basin Authority made available the draft Basin Plan for public comment.

The plan recommends that 2750 gigalitres of agricultural water be returned to the basin by 2019 through a mix of buybacks and infrastructure projects.

In announcing the draft plan, Authority Chair Craig Knowles said the draft Basin Plan was the next step in restoring balance to the basin. "After nine months of talking to people across the Basin and listening to their ideas I am confident we can move toward a sensible and balanced plan,” he said.

He hoped the draft could put an end to a long-standing ‘tug-of-war’ between irrigators and environmental groups. He urged all parties not to fixate on the 2750 gigalitre figure and to support the new ‘adaptive management’ approach to the system.

But not all concerned parties are listening. Many immediately rejected the draft and continued to focus on the 2750 gigalitre figure.

The Wilderness Society said the plan fell well short of its expectations and questioned both the 2750 gigalitre figure and the science behind it.

And Peak industry groups said the draft has failed to achieve the promised balance between social, economic and environmental impacts. They predicted job losses, farm closures, and increased food prices.

Still, Knowles is pinning his hopes on a new approach. "Our plan is flexible and will allow us to monitor and adapt. It’s a plan that will achieve important environmental objectives and is a pathway forward that allows us all to continue to learn and build on our knowledge about how to better manage the Murray Darling Basin for all of its values," he said.

Photo: a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from waterarchives' Flickr photo stream

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