If it doesn’t rain significantly in the next two months, all irrigation in the Murray-Darling basin will cease. Press release from the Prime Minister here.
As the ABC story says, all the fruit trees, grape vines, olive trees, and whatnot being irrigated in the basin will die, reducing production (and incomes) for years to come. I hate to think what the financial and social cost of that will be.
Not to mention what it will likely do to the already-struggling redgum forests and wetlands of the Murray – not helped by farmers illegally letting their cattle loose in the wetlands.
If it does get to the stage of shutting down irrigation completely, expect the screams of the National Party for more dam building to get even louder, with proposals like Big Buffalo. Where the water to fill these dams is supposed to come from is, of course, a mystery…