The Australian Model

I’ve written before about the possibility that we could view Australia’s struggles with long term drought, especially in the Murray-Darling Basin, as a model for how to deal with things here in the arid southwest. This version of the model is perhaps not quite so hopeful. From Australian Broadcasting:

A guide for water allocations in Australia’s beleaguered Murray-Darling Basin is due to be released tomorrow, and already irrigators are up in arms over reports that it might recommend cuts of up to 37 per cent.

Irrigators warn that cuts of this size could send whole communities to the wall in Australia’s most productive agricultural land.

But at the same time, environmentalists insist that despite the recent rain, the Murray-Darling is a still river in crisis and substantial reforms are necessary to ensure its long-term viability.

Is this, also, a preview of some of the issues we can expect in the Colorado River and Rio Grande basins in coming decades? It already sounds a bit like the wrangling in California’s Central Valley.


  1. And here we go with the large-scale trend. I haven’t read the paper yet, but this seems all too consistent with the predicted effects of the warming of the atmosphere and the poleward shift of its circulation. In a sane world this would be cause for pushing the panic button, but it seems we’ll need to be thoroughly bludgeoned first.

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