Water managment

Murray Darling Basin short-changed

28 September 2017

PETER HUNT, The Weekly Times
September 28, 2017 12:00am
MURRAY Darling Basin irrigators, towns and industry have used 17,000 gigalitres less water than they were entitled to under the Murray Darling Basin cap on usage.

The MDB Authority quietly slipped a list of compliance ­tables onto its website this month, which show irrigators in every one of the basin’s 22 valleys are in credit against the cap. The cap was established in 1997-98 to limit irrigators’ diversions and protect the environment.

Each year diverters of the basin’s valleys are granted credits for falling under the cap and debits for breaches.

The release of the MDBA’s compliance report has prompted questions on whether the unused water is going to the environment and how much of the drop in usage reflects irrigators’ and water corporations’ more conservative water usage, carry-over and allocation strategies.

 

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