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New polling shows more than three quarters of Australians (77 per cent) agree that degradation of the Murray-Darling needs to be fixed now and 75 per cent are worried that if we don’t put water back into the river system it will be irreparably damaged.
A large majority of respondents to the survey agree that governments have failed to set adequate rules for water usage (68 per cent) and that economic mismanagement is damaging the Murray-Darling (67 per cent).
“This polling shows Australians are in no doubt about what’s behind the Murray-Darling Basin’s problems: economic mismanagement and taking too much water out of the rivers,” said Australian Conservation Foundation executive director Don Henry.
“Everyone knows the way we’ve been sharing water in the Basin isn’t working.
“Just like Australian households have got used to water restrictions, which set rules about how much water we can use in our houses, we need limits on how much water irrigation industries can take from our rivers.
“We need to restore the balance between irrigation and the environment by putting more water back into the Murray-Darling, which is one of the major life support systems for the country.
“A Basin Plan that is based on science can help deliver a healthy Murray-Darling for all Australians.
“The terms of reference for the new Parliamentary Inquiry into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan should look at the costs of not acting to address the overuse of water.
“And the Murray-Darling Basin Authority needs to look at the benefits of returning 4000–7600 billion litres to the rivers of the Basin, as the science says is needed to return them to health.”
The Auspoll survey of 1,500 people was conducted between 19 and 22 October.