Cover of Issue 141 of ECOS, Australia's most authoritative magazine on sustainability in the environment, industry and community
‘Supermodel’ gives clearer picture of the Murray–Darling’s future
The latest issue of ECOS reports on a massive research effort to accurately map the Murray–Darling Basin’s surface water and groundwater resources.
The research is providing policy-makers and planners with a sound basis for making decisions about future water allocations for agriculture, the environment and the wider community.
Through the CSIRO-led Murray–Darling Basin Sustainable Yields (MDBSY) project – said to be the most comprehensive water-resource inventory undertaken – researchers have developed a hydrological ‘supermodel’ of Basin water resources by linking 40 separate computer models and a comprehensive dataset representing surface and groundwater flows and extractions.
The integrated model, which also takes into account connections between groundwater and surface flows, will give managers a clearer picture of how future water availability will affect agriculture, forestry, urban supplies and the environment, and allow them to assess different management approaches under various climate scenarios.
“The Murray–Darling Basin covers one-seventh of the continent and supplies 40 per cent of our farm production. As well as the Murray, the Darling and the Murrumbidgee, the Basin includes the catchments of 15 other tributaries.”
The Murray–Darling Basin covers one-seventh of the continent and supplies 40 per cent of our farm production. As well as the Murray, the Darling and the Murrumbidgee, the Basin includes the catchments of 15 other tributaries.
Other stories in ECOS 141 include:
Farming soil pays as a climate change solution - In a potential win-win solution to climate change impacts, land degradation, and farm incomes, the Australian Soil Carbon Accreditation Scheme (ASCAS) is helping to design incentives for farmers to improve the capacity of soils to lock in large amounts of carbon. After oceans, soil is the Earth’s largest carbon sink. Researchers are completing trials to demonstrate that, by restoring soil fertility through strategic, chemical-free perennial crop management, farmers can increase the rate at which carbon is fixed underground and potentially receive payments for their efforts.
Gardens restore life after the tsunami - European NGO Solidar is teaching villagers and farmers in Sri Lanka basic skills in organic gardening, enabling them to be self-sufficient in food, generate income and help restore the natural environment through plantings such as mangroves, which protect vulnerable coastal zones and fish stocks.
Better bushfire management - Results of a 10 year study of bushfires in dry eucalypt forests show that existing systems for anticipating fire behaviour may greatly under-predict the spread of high-intensity summer fires. Now firefighters have a sounder understanding of fire behaviour and the critical ‘Dead Man Zone’.
Flight paths in peril - The inspiring story of a courageous ornithologist who has fought off commercial developments encroaching on a wetland in southern Israel that is a key stopover for the world’s largest bird migration.
Co-operative energy efficiency pays off - How banks and other organisations can get behind cost-effective and mutually beneficial opportunities for OECD countries to assist developing nations in significantly reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.
Taking a stand for river red gums - Indigenous people have been participating in a collaborative effort to restore the Murray River’s Barmah Forest, part of world’s largest river red gum forest.
Issue 141 of ECOS is available at major newsagents or at: Ecos Magazine - Current Issue
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