Experts weigh in on Murray-Darling Basin plans

Experts weigh in on Murray-Darling Basin plans

From Cosmos (24/4/24)…

Experts weigh in on Murray-Darling Basin plans

One of Australia’s leading science academies is calling for an overhaul of the Murray Darling Basin’s governance system as part of a 50-year vision for Australia’s largest water region.

The basin, which extends over a million square kilometres and crosses five sub-national borders, is governed by a series of water laws and 11 government bodies.

The current Australian government recently introduced amendments to how the system is managed and in February undertook the first buybacks of water entitlements at an estimated cost of $205m. The recent changes were made to extend timeframes to achieve water targets.

But the next review of the Basin Plan isn’t due until 2026 and now experts from the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) are calling on governments to take a longer view of the system’s management.

In a newly released summary statement, the ATSE calls on governments to prioritise an immediate investment in climate resilience measures and calls for an independent national body to be reinstated to administer the Basin amid other governance changes, similar to the defunct National Water Commission.

It also calls for a greater scientific contribution to decision-making along the Basin, centralised and open access data collections, a water market agency to standardise water trading and more focus on cultural water rights.

The intersection of the Darling and the Murray river at Wentworth (where I grew up – Brian). Credit: Mark Evans / Stringer / Getty Images


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