. Earth Science News .

Plan for crucial Australian rivers draws anger
by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) Nov 28, 2011

Farmers Monday slammed the government's draft plan to rescue a crucial river system supplying Australia's food bowl, saying it will destroy communities and put pressure on food prices.

Canberra wants water usage cuts of 2,750 gigalitres a year in the vast Murray-Darling Basin in Australia's east which produces more than one-third of the country's food supply and has been over exploited for years.

But irrigators say the move to aid the ailing river system, struggling to recover after years of drought, will ruin some communities.

"If the draft Basin plan is adopted in its current form the Minister would be responsible for economically and socially destroying communities reliant on water for their survival," Stewart Ellis, of the National Irrigators' Council, said.

Murray-Darling Basin Authority chair Craig Knowles said there was no quick fix for the basin, which stretches thousands of kilometres (miles) from Queensland state to South Australia and crosses various climates.

"The old way of managing the basin has well and truly reached its use-by-date," Knowles told ABC Television.

"We've endeavoured to strike a balance."

But irrigators quickly criticised the draft, under which the cuts would be phased in over seven years, as did environmentalists.

"It gives primacy to the environment while people and communities have come a poor second," National Farmers' Federation chief executive Matt Linnegar told reporters.

The Australian Conservation Foundation described the draft plan as a failure for the basin which was seriously depleted after a long-running drought and suffering from increased salt concentrations due in part to low rainfall.

"It doesn't do enough to flush the salt out through the Murray mouth, revive dying wetlands and keep the country's lifeblood -- the Murray-Darling -- flowing," spokesman Paul Sinclair said.

The Murray-Darling, covering more than one million square kilometres, passes through Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, and is subject to the cycles of droughts and flooding for which the nation is known.

The release of an initial draft report into the basin last year provoked angry farmers to burn copies of the plan and national Environment Minister Tony Burke said the latest version would affect regional communities.

"You can't have reform without having that," Burke said.

But he added the draft was designed so the river system entered the next drought with a level of resilience to ensure no repeat of some of the "diabolical consequences" of the last drought.

Related Links
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Water doesn't have to freeze until minus 55 Fahrenheit
Salt Lake City UT (SPX) Nov 25, 2011
We drink water, bathe in it and we are made mostly of water, yet the common substance poses major mysteries. Now, University of Utah chemists may have solved one enigma by showing how cold water can get before it absolutely must freeze: 55 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. That's 87 degrees Fahrenheit colder than what most people consider the freezing point of water, namely, 32 F. Supercooled ... read more

Thai minister survives flood censure vote

Japan nuclear plant director sick: company

Misery lingers for Bangkok's 'forgotten' flood victims

Central America storms caused $2 bln in damage

Kindle sales quadrupled on Black Friday: Amazon

Mapheus-3 - spherules, metals and microgravity

Recycle this: Bolivian turns waste into high fashion

Carbon nanotube forest camouflages 3d objects

Plan for crucial Australian rivers draws anger

Hong Kong's shark fin traders feel pressure to change

EBRD grants 123-million-euro loan for Croatia hydro station

Water doesn't have to freeze until minus 55 Fahrenheit

Study: Arctic ice melting 'unprecedented'

Iceland says no to Chinese tycoon's land purchase: ministry

Carbon cycling was much smaller during last ice age than in today's climate

Gamburtsev Mountains enigma unraveled in East Antarctica

Japan's rice farmers mull TPP future

French court annuls ban on Monsanto GM crops

Climate set to worsen food crises: Oxfam

China govt under fire over new food bacteria rule

19 hurricanes in third-most active Atlantic season

Faroe Islands hit by hurricane

Thailand counts cost of monster floods

Quakes hit Japan

South Sudan in fresh battle to disarm civilians

Ethiopia dragged back into Somali quagmire

French soldiers join hunt for hostages seized in Mali

Gambia's Jammeh headed for landslide poll win

New evidence of interhuman aggression and human induced trauma 126,000 years ago

Mimicking the brain, in silicon

Moderate drinking and cardiovascular health: here comes the beer

Is a stranger genetically wired to be trustworthy? You'll know in 20 seconds


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement