Missing in action: possible effects of water recovery on stream and river flows in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    We use published water balance data from irrigated cropping to show that water entitlements acquired for environmental purposes through water infrastructure subsidies in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia, have resulted in smaller increases in net stream and river flows than is estimated by the Australian Government, and may even have reduced net stream and river flows. Two key policy implications arising from our results are: (1) subsidies to improve irrigation efficiency so as to increase stream and river flows must employ water accounting so that the effects on return flows are known and the volume of water extracted for irrigation is adjusted to achieve desired stream and river flows; and (2) if the net increases in stream and river flows in the MDB are much less than estimated by the Australian Government, water infrastructure subsidies to increase irrigation efficiency may have compromised the delivery of key objects of the Water Act (2007).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)78-87
    JournalAustralasian Journal of Water Resources
    Volume23
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

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