There’s a pitched battle underway in Australia’s Murray Darling Basin over how much water humans can take from the system for their own use, and how much should be left for the river-fed ecosystem. One of the corollary arguments here in the states involves the human economic value of instream flows for recreation – river rafting, ecotourism and the like. Here’s a very clever Australian farmer trying to blunt that argument – too much water in the river is bad for tourism!
Mr Hatty said thousands of tourists packed his area of the Murray River region during the summer months and school holiday times, especially during the Easter break, swelling the town’s population and boosting the economic “harvest” for battling local businesses. But if the local river system swells by about 20,000 mega-litres per day or more, it can cause water levels to rise significantly and prevent access to beaches and family recreational areas, like those designated for camping.