The Productivity Commission has released a research report, Market Mechanisms for Recovering Water in the Murray-Darling Basin, criticizing some aspects of the current Murray-Darling water strategy:
- the proposed infrastructure spend is an expensive way of saving water and should be reviewed and subject to individual cost-benefit analysis
- current water purchases in advance of the setting of sustainable limits for individual rivers created significant problems
- the current Water Act, which sets out the Murray-Darling Basin plan does not sufficiently balance the social, economic and environmental outcomes and may need amendment.
Farm groups who have long argued that the current approach over-weights environmental considerations as compared to other needs, including agriculture.
There has, in fact, been an interesting shift in the balance of discussion over the last two years because of increased recognition that Australia's food security cannot in fact be guaranteed.
Those who are interested can find the full report here.