- Be informed
- Get involved
- Donate now
- News & media
The Murray-Darling Basin Authority needs to stop the race to the bottom it sparked when it said it would only look at returning enough water to slow the destruction of Australia’s most important life support system, not save it.
Authority chair Mike Taylor has said he wants to look at how the Authority can recommend returning even less water to the rivers of the Murray-Darling.
“The authority’s job isn’t to oversee the continued destruction of the river system,” said the Australian Conservation Foundation’s healthy ecosystems program manager Dr Paul Sinclair.
“The Authority has to steer the Murray-Darling back to health.
“Ninety per cent of the basin’s floodplain wetlands have been lost, 80% of the waterbird are gone and 80% of the red gums in lower Murray are severely stressed – all because we’ve taken out too much water for too long.
“One irrigation industry alone, the cotton sector, can use up to seven times the amount of water consumed by Melbourne’s 3.5 million residents in a year.
“The Authority has said ‘the real possibility of environmental failure now threatens the long term economic and social viability of many industries…’
“Either it stands by this statement and delivers enough water to the river to avert this catastrophe, or it condemns the basin to a slow death,” Dr Sinclair said.
“Destroying the river is bad news for irrigators and everyone else.”
Recent analysis by ACF showed healthy rivers and wetlands provide economic benefits to basin communities and businesses worth around $2.1 billion a year.
“Minister Burke must require the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Basin Plan to identify the costs of failing to fix the overuse of water and the benefits of returning enough water to give the river system a strong chance.”