Damage to farms minimal under Basin plan

October 24th, 2012 in Earth / Environment
Professor Richard Kingsford. Credit: Grant Turner


Professor Richard Kingsford. Credit: Grant Turner

For the first time, scientists at UNSW have investigated the likely impact of planned environmental flows on farmlands and nature reserves around the Murray-Darling Basin.

The new study suggests that damage from the flows proposed under the Basin Plan, which are designed to mimic natural flooding processes and improve ecological health, will be minimal to farming and other land use areas in the Basin.

"We found that, even with widespread flooding, most of the areas affected are floodplain areas, which are primarily used for livestock," said lead author Professor Richard Kingsford, Director of the Australian Rivers, Wetlands and Landscapes Centre at UNSW.

"Usually these landholders welcome floods as they rejuvenate floodplains and provide increased benefits to livestock."

Using satellite imagery, the researchers examined the maximum flooding and floodplain area in the , including 62,164 km2 of wetland, which covered 5.87 per cent of the land area of the entire Basin. These wetlands included all rivers, lakes, and floodplain areas that were inundated fully during a ten-year period (1984-1993).

According to Professor Kingsford: "These figures, representing maximum estimates of impact, clearly show that environmental flows are unlikely to have widespread impacts on agriculture across the Murray-Darling Basin. In fact, it is important to acknowledge that environmental flows are critically important to agriculture, providing good water quality, healthy rivers and benefits for grazing communities".

Key Findings:


Provided by University of New South Wales

"Damage to farms minimal under Basin plan." October 24th, 2012. http://phys.org/news/2012-10-farms-minimal-basin.html