Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Australian farmers will lose water to restore rivers

James Grubel in Reuters: Farmers would lose more than a third of irrigation water in Australia's major food bowl, the Murray-Darling, under a plan released on Friday to restore ailing rivers, posing a new headache for the Labor minority government. The move could see the value of cotton production cut by 25 percent, and farmers and irrigators have warned of farm closures, massive job losses and higher food prices if the plan by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority is adopted by the government.

Environmentalists welcome the cuts, saying they will help Australia's major river system survive future droughts brought on by climate change in the world's driest inhabited continent. Prime Minister Julia Gillard's fragile one-seat majority government is dependent on support from both rural independents and the Green party and will have to balance both interests in deciding whether to adopt the plan by the end of 2011.

Under the new plan, irrigation rights would be cut by between 3,000 to 4,000 gigalitres a year, cutting water supplies to farmers by between 27 to 37 percent, with the government to buy back water licenses to compensate farmers. "Cutting water use ... will reduce the supply of food and fiber and increase the number of farmers leaving the land, resulting in the destruction of farm and rural communities," said Victorian Farmers' Federation President Andrew Broad.

But the authority said the cuts were needed to guarantee the long-term health of the nation's major rivers, which have suffered a century of neglect and over-allocation for irrigation….

A farm near Milbrodale in New South Wales, shot by Mike Young, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

1 comment:

snoring solutions said...

I think you are behind the curve. If you check back with the Guardian you will find that the Guardian has appended a not of apology to Andrew Montford about the Bob Ward article, has made changes including to the headline, and has put a link at the top of the article (as you should if you want to play fair) to Montford’s critique of the Bob Ward piece.