Darling Basin Conflict

1332 Words 6 Pages
David Schuberth
Environ 306: Global Water
Professor Gaden
Conflict in the Murray-Darling Basin
The Murray-Darling Basin is a large region in Australia consisting of a network of irrigation systems and two rivers crossing over three states, and stakeholders sharing them causes quite a lot of conflict. The Murray River itself is the third longest river in the world at 2520 kilometers and supplies water to 1.5 million households, including the Aboriginal people who have lived there for more than 40,000 years. As the rivers run through Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia, it becomes necessary to establish institutions to prevent conflicts. Also, with so many stakeholders at the state and government level it is complex and necessary to
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One historical conflict occurred between the Barkindji tribe of Wilcannia in New South Wales and mid-19th century colonial sheep farmers on the Darling River. This area was ideal for colonizers because it served as a direct route through the region for trade, thus for a time housed the third-largest inland port for New South Wales. This growth however came at the cost of squatting on land that had been occupied by the Barkindji for such a long time that they have “Barka” (Forsyth, 2016), meaning river, right in their name and refer to the Darling River as their “mother” (Forsyth, 2016) because of the vital role it holds in sustaining their lives. Although the colonial wealth dried up with the centuries due to the economic losses of sheep farming in a desert, the Barkindji are still to this day conflicting with fruit and cotton farmers living upstream and using the Darling River to irrigate their …show more content…
This objective lies beyond the scope of this paper so need not be further explained. The third objective states “water salinity should be maintained at salinity levels below that which will adversely affect existing crop productivity under best management practices for irrigation” (MDBA, 2010). Setting an RCL for irrigated agriculture requires separate consideration depending on the region of the basin. The MDBA decided RCLs in each area should depend on the most salt sensitive irrigated crop making up a minimum of 10% of production to a specific region. Implementation of this should bring salination to acceptable RCL levels for agriculture and seems an effective way to end the conflict between local communities and agricultural irrigation

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