Plans to cut irrigation by as much as 37 percent in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin, home to almost half of the nation’s farms, will raise fresh food prices, the country’s main farming organization said.
Australia is likely to face demands for more than A$2 billion in water rights buybacks from farmers as part of the Murray-Darling river plan, the Sydney Morning Herald reported today, citing Australian National University Professor Quentin Grafton. The Murray-Darling Basin Authority is expected to announce water extraction must reduce by 27 percent to 37 percent, the newspaper said. Labor has said its A$9 billion recovery plan won’t secure enough water to meet reduction targets, according to the report.
Eastern grain-growing regions in Australia, the world’s second-biggest wheat exporter, are set to receive rain this week, boosting production prospects just as dry weather threatens supply from the U.S., the biggest shipper.
Australia will study the social and economic effects of a plan to cut irrigation by as much as 37 percent in the Murray-Darling Basin, which accounts for almost half the nation’s farms, after protests from local communities.
Water to irrigators should be cut by between 27 percent and 37 percent, or 3,000 to 4,000 gigaliters, and diverted to the environment, which would cost the government as much as A$4 billion ($3.9 billion), the Murray-Darling Basin Authority said in a report released in Canberra today.