Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

A fearful future for Australia’s one big river system – the Murray-Darling basin

Murray-Darling Basin’s outlook is grim unless it rains, authority’s report warns, Guardian, Anne Davies


Focus for year ahead will be on ‘providing drought refuges and avoiding irreversible loss of species 
The outlook for the environment in the Murray-Darling Basin, particularly in the north, is extremely challenging and there will be almost no scope for environmental flows for the remainder of the 2018-19 year unless it rains, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority has warned.It says the focus will be “on providing drought refuges and avoiding irreversible loss of species”.

Releasing its environmental watering outlook for 2019-20 the authority warns that there are almost no reserves of environmental water in the northern basin and that, as a result of above-average temperatures and low inflows over successive years, some important wetlands and floodplain forests have not received water for long periods.

It says conditions in the Coorong, a Ramsar-listed wetland in South Australia, are deteriorating, as are conditions in the Narran Lakes, despite the federal government paying $80m for water rights aimed at restoring them. The Macquarie Marshes and floodplains along the Murray are also deteriorating.

The report says the conditions in the lower Darling are particularly severe and the length and duration of cease-to-flow events in the lower Darling has skyrocketed since 2000. It acknowledges this is due to extraction by irrigators upstream as well as climate.

“The hydrology in this area has changed in recent years … an effect which can be tied to both the volume of water extracted from the river and climate across the northern basin,” it says.

“This trend has also affected water availability in Menindee Lakes and the flow characteristics downstream through the lower Darling,” it says…….. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/feb/15/murray-darling-basins-outlook-is-grim-unless-it-rains-authoritys-report-warns

February 16, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, environment

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