The Stream, September 22: Australia Drought Tests Murray-Darling Water Trading System

The  Global Rundown

The Global Rundown

Dry conditions in Australia’s Murray-Darling River Basin are testing the region’s water rights system, which is meant to keep enough water in the river to support a healthy environment. Meanwhile, water quality near the Great Barrier Reef remains poor. In Canada, scientists warned that Alberta tar sands operations may not be able to get enough water from the Athabasca River. Water districts in California noted the possible purchase of islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to secure water supplies.

“If one of my kids came home with a report card like this, I’d be a bit disappointed. There’s more bad news in here than good news.”–Steven Miles, environment minister for Queensland, on a report detailing water quality near the Great Barrier Reef. Agricultural runoff laden with nutrients, pesticides, and sediments was cited as a major driver of water pollution in the area. (Reuters)

By the Numbers

By The Numbers

$145 per megalitre Cost of water in some regions of Australia’s Murray-Darling River Basin, where an intensifying drought is testing the country’s resolve to save water for the environment through its water rights trading system. Reuters


Science, Studies, And Reports

Retreating glaciers and the likelihood of a long-term drought could draw down water levels in Alberta’s Athabasca River and limit tar sands production in the region, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Tar sands operations could require as much as 505 million cubic meters of water per year from the river within 10 years, equal to 12 percent of the river’s annual flow. InsideClimate News

On the Radar

On The Radar

Two water districts serving Southern California farmers and cities are eyeing four islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta as a potential source of water. The islands may be used to store water during wet years before shipping it farther south. The Sacramento Bee

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