Lifeblood Alliance Campaign
The purpose of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is to improve the health of Australia’s largest river system for public benefit. The primary actions in the Plan are designed to reduce over-allocation of water. However, there has been a significant failure to meet the water recovery targets set by the Basin Plan, a shortfall of 47.5 GL out of a reduced target of 2075 GL.
The quickest, most efficient and economically responsible way to meet the overdue water recovery target is to purchase water from willing sellers via an open and transparent tender process. Water recovery through infrastructure measures and increased irrigation efficiency has not delivered the expected benefits of water returned and is not a cost-effective use of funds. Economic modelling has shown that buy-backs are a much more effective use of available funds to secure water returns.
A report published by academics from University of Adelaide, University of NSW, the Australian National University and the Environmental Defenders Office – The rebound effect on water extraction from subsidising irrigation infrastructure in Australia – found up to 28% more water was extracted by those who received subsidies to improve the water efficiency of their irrigation businesses.
This perverse outcome supports the Lifeblood Alliance’s campaign – the most cost effective and efficient way to return water to the rivers, wetlands, floodplains and aquifers of the Murray Darling Basin is to buy back water from willing sellers through open tender process.
Lifeblood Alliance consists of environmental, Indigenous and community groups committed to keeping the rivers, wetlands and aquifers of the Murray-Darling Basin healthy for the benefit of current and future generations.
Member groups include:
Australian Conservation Foundation, NSW Nature Conservation Council, Conservation Council of South Australia, Environment Victoria, Queensland Conservation Council, Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations, Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations, River Lakes and Coorong Action Group, Environmental Farmers Network, Inland Rivers Network, National Parks Association of NSW, Goulburn Valley Environment Group, Healthy Rivers Dubbo and Central West Environment Council.