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Water use in the Murray Darling Basin

Water use in the Murray Darling Basin

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Water use in the Murray Darling Basin. Key Knowledge and Skills . Importance of water as a resource in Australia Distribution of water resources Factors affecting water use Factors affecting the pattern of water use . Europeans influence . - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of Water use in the Murray Darling Basin

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Water use in the Murray Darling Basin

Key Knowledge and Skills Importance of water as a resource in AustraliaDistribution of water resourcesFactors affecting water use Factors affecting the pattern of water use

Europeans influence Europeans settled in some regions of the MDB in the 19th century, at a time when there had been a series of wet yearsMake the desert bloomDidnt have long term rainfall recordsIgnorant of highly variable climate and river flowsLand Use Sheep and cattle were introduced to the region in large numbersCrops requiring large amounts of water were planted The country's growing population had to be fedExport markets needed to be establishedClearing~15 billion trees were cleared to:Establish farmsSupply fuel for the paddle steamers which moved goods from the inland farms to the ports

IrrigationThe application of water to crops or pasture, especially in dry regions, to supplement rainfallBegan in the 1880s in MilduraIdea from California

Human usesWater is required to:Generate powerDomesticIndustrialStockForestryMiningRecreationTourismIrrigation, and.

Natural usesWater also provides a habitat for:Mammals,BirdsReptilesFrogs and Freshwater fish.

Some of these species are now endangered

The Murray river has been described as one of the hardest working rivers in the world, in terms of the amount of water that is taken out of it, and the variety of natural and human needs it supportsImportantThe Basin is Australias most important agricultural regionProducing over 1/3 of the country's food supplyProviding 39% of the national Income from agricultural productionThere is a strong spatial association between the basins dry land farming regions and the production of beef cattle, sheep and wheat.

There is a strong spatial association between land that is irrigated and the production of dairy products, cotton, rice, fruit and vegetables

Irrigation areasCotton IrrigationMajority of all water used in Australia is consumed in the MDB (52% in 2009) mainly for irrigation Almost 90% of the water is diverted for useThe basin contains:65% of Australias total irrigated land50% of the nations sheep25% of its cattleWater needed in agricultural productionTo produce 1 kg of:wheat = 715 750 litresmaize = 540 30 litresSoybeans = 1650 2200 litresRice = 1550 litresBeef = 50 000 100 000 litresWool = 170 000 litresAgricultural land use in the MDB

See page 49 of your textWater use for agriculture and income generated, Australia wide What uses the most water?What makes the most money?What has the best return?

State and territory shares of the basin and their water use

Human and natural usesIn the past, the main role allocated to the river was to provide water for human use.Little thought was given to the needs of the river itself An unhealthy river = economical and social impacts & environmental

Hume in 2008, Dying river red gum, drying river in NSW

19Unhealthy riverDying river red gumsDeclining fish numbersAlgal bloomsRiver not reaching the mouthDrought

Environmental FlowsWater allocated to the river for a healthy riverThis water has to come from somewhereSuggested 4000 gigalitres a year needs to be returned to the river from farm allocations

Gigalitre = 1,000,000,000 litres = 1,000 Megalitres = 1 million litresConcerns with Environmental flowsConcerns that returning the water to the river could lead to the decline of small townsLoss of thousands of jobsLoss of hundreds of millions of dollars in economic growthDoes water for the environment have any value?A healthy river can have benefits for regional economies and employment

Providing soil moisture for healthy plant life on riverbanks and flood plainsEnabling insects to flourish and pollinate cropsReplenishing aquifers and stabilising river banks through improved tree coverTrees help keep the water table low, which reduces salinity and improves the level of carbon storage

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ndpa7nb6CosImportance of the MDB10.9% of Australia's population live within the basin10 % of all people employed in the basin work in agriculture, compared to 3 % Australia wide38 % of Australian farmers live in the basin

The mean household income for people in the basin in 2006 was $675, compared to $732 for Australia3% of Australias electricity and 33% of the nations hydro electricity is generated in the basinThe Gross value of agricultural production (GVAP) in the basin was $15 billion (late 2000) or 39% of Australias total value of agricultural products

52% of Australias total water consumption was used by industries (including agriculture) and households in the basin

Agriculture uses 83% of water in the basin; households and other industries use 2% each; the water supply industry uses 13%

Who uses the water?Water use is unevenly distributed

Biggest regional users on average per year are located in the southern basin:Murray (4338 Gl)Murrumbidge (2257 Gl )Goulburn Broken (1071 Gl)

Division of water Adelaide receives 42% of its water supply from the Murray and up to 90% in drought years

The MDB contains 65% of Australia's irrigated land.The long term average use of the basins 1.65 million hectares of irrigated land is

Movement of waterWater is pied to users located outside the MDB in towns like Whyalla, Keith and Woomera in SA

Movement In Victoria water is piped from the Goulburn river to Bendigo and Ballarat, and through the North South pipeline to Melbourne otherwise known as the sugarloaf pipeline

See page 54 of textSnowy Mountains Scheme The snowy mountains scheme diverts water from the snowy river to generate hydro electricityIncreases water supplies in the Murray and Murrumbidgee riversRecreationBoatingFishingCampingWater skiingGolfing

Require clean reliable flows and a healthy river

ProducePeople in Australia and overseas consume agricultural products

Volume of water used for crops and pastures varies from year to year depending on:Volume available for irrigationTradingCommodity pricesDiscuss answers to questions 1 8 as a class

Activity 9.only Agricultural products which produce very high value returns to irrigators should be allowed in the MDB; all other products should be imported or produced elsewhere in Australia