The three-infrastructures framework and water risks in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia

John Williams, Matthew Colloff, Quentin Grafton, Shahbaz Khan, Zahra Paydar, Paul Wyrwoll

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Using a three-infrastructures (grey, soft, and green) framework, we examined key risks to water availability and quality in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia. These risks include increased irrigation efficiency, without a quantitative knowledge of the impact on water flow pathways, particularly return flows, growth in farm dams and floodplain harvesting, and unsustainable management of salinity. Critical to mitigating these risks are the metering, monitoring, and auditing of water flows, effective linkages between evidence and analysis, and accountability of decision-makers operating in the public interest. We contend that these approaches need to be supported by innovative risk assessments, which are fit-for-purpose under the MDB Plan, wherein the ‘who, what, when and where’ are assessed in relation to cumulative, systemic, and cascading risks from human actions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)47–67
    JournalAustralasian Journal of Water Resources
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

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