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MDBA chair says it’s time to prepare for climate change

At Kallara Station, Tilpa, from left: Hilton Taylor, Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder; Andrew McConville, MDBA chief executive; Justin McClure and MDBA Chair, Sir Angus Houston. Photo contributed

The Chair of the Murray Darling Basin Authority has been touring the Western region this month, listening to the concerns of communities about water use and water security.

Sir Angus Houston said what he was hearing from those communities was the absolute necessity for the environment to be a priority into the future.

Sir Angus said NSW lagged behind other jurisdictions signed up to the Murray Darling Basin Plan, with 20 Water Resource Plans still to be delivered. All the other states had completed their plans, he said, and NSW water users had to ‘get on with it’ as inevitable climate change put more pressure on the river system.

“The priority of the Murray Darling Basin Authority has to be a healthy river system that has to deliver water to communities along the Murray Darling and deliver to the environment, and we need First Nations cultural water as well,” he said.

Speaking from Menindee after visits to Tilpa and Wilcannia, Sir Angus said that the latest CSIRO report on the environment painted a bleak picture of the damage from climate change.

“The CSIRO is projecting that by 2050 we will have a situation where rainfall will reduce by 10 per cent and that change is a challenge for us.

“By the mid-century we will have a situation where inflows into the river will have reduced by 20-30 percent and that means less water, so something’s got to give.

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