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Understanding the Murray-Darling … it’s like a wet carpet

There’s a long held misconception about the Murray and Darling Rivers; that they simply flow from their respective starting points in the Great Dividing Range to where they converge in South West NSW. And it’s this misconception that our Leader and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce has been combating recently while explaining the proposed amendment to the Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) to reduce the water recovery target. 

The rivers really aren’t like they are imagined, as a great flow of water from source to mouth. In an interview Barnaby described how the Murray-Darling worked more like piece of carpet:

“It is more like a big, old, flat, dry carpet. And if you tip a bucket of water in one corner of the carpet, the chance of it getting to the other corner of the carpet will only happen if the total carpet is saturated.”

The times that we see them flowing as we imagine are often because of storms or other events:

 “A lot of the times the rivers are - the so-called rivers: they're lines on a map which water goes down if there is water around. And that happens with sort of "opportunity" storms and big-water events.”

Recognising how the Murray-Darling Basin actually works has allowed for new amendments to the Basin Plan, meaning more water will be allocated to the areas where the water resides. The proposed changes to the MDBA will see a new water recovery target of 320GL, reduced from 390GL.

The Water Act states that any changes to the Basin Plan require a minimum eight week public consultation. Interested parties can provide feedback, including conveying their support of the proposed changes. Formal submissions can be received up until 5pm (AEST) 10 February 2017.

To read more on the proposed amendments:
http://www.mdba.gov.au/sites/default/files/pubs/773-BP-amendments-nbr-snapshot.pdf.

To make a submission visit website http://mdba.gov.au/BPamendments.

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