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CSIRO tours Basin communities to share vital water information

09 December, 2008

Researchers behind the most comprehensive hydrological modelling undertaken across the Murray-Darling Basin have toured towns across the Basin recently to discuss their findings with local communities.

Dr Bill Young, project leader for the Murray-Darling Basin Sustainable Yields project, shared outcomes of the CSIRO’s Water Availability in the Murray-Darling Basin report with locals in a four-day tour of the Basin which has involved briefings in seven regional centres.

The project, which looks at the Basin’s water resources now and into the future predicting the impact of climate change, found that water resource development has caused major changes to the Murray-Darling Basin.

Dr Young says the two-year project, funded by the National Water Commission and supported by the Department of Water, Environment, Heritage and the Arts, will help in determining a sustainable diversion limit for surface and groundwater use to better manage the resource across the Murray-Darling Basin.

“It provides an initial platform of knowledge for the new Murray-Darling Basin Authority to prepare a Basin Plan for the whole Murray-Darling Basin,” Dr Young says.

“CSIRO, through the Water for a Healthy Country National Research Flagship, continues to develop the knowledge needed to substantially improve the way we use and manage water,” Dr Young says.

“Results from the full range of climate scenarios published progressively in the Murray-Darling Basin Sustainable Yields reports over the past two years will form a key part of the wider information available to the MDBA in developing the Basin Plan.

“A key issue in this work is its sound scientific approach which uses a range of scenarios, providing a basis for balanced decisions at a policy level. The integrated modelling capability developed through this project will allow additional investigations which can assist future water management issues.”

The reports, covering the 18 regions across the Basin, highlight that the major challenge for future water resource management in the Murray-Darling Basin is to achieve sustainable water resource use, while optimising the economic, social and environmental outcomes in the context of a high-variable and changing climate.

CSIRO, through the Water for a Healthy Country National Research Flagship, continues to develop the knowledge needed to substantially improve the way we use and manage water, Dr Young says.

CSIRO has drawn on the scientific leadership and technical expertise of national and state government agencies in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT and South Australia, as well as the Murray-Darling Basin Commission and leading Australian industry consultants.

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