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Monday, 26 November 2018
Page: 11567

Climate

(Question No. 1128)


Ms Sharkie asked the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, in writing, on 13 September 2018:

1. Does the Northern Basin Review (November 2016) include an up-to-date assessment of climate risks.

2. In respect of the Review's claim that there is a large degree of uncertainty around whether a wetter or drier future will eventuate, particularly in the northern Basin, are there any Murray-Darling Basin Authority studies that have concluded that a wetter future could eventuate for the northern Basin; if so, can the Government provide a copy.


Mr Littleproud: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

1. Studies in the Basin over the last 10 years have shown that changes in climate could have a significant impact on water resources. There is a large degree of uncertainty around whether a wetter or drier future will eventuate, particularly in the northern Basin. Consequently, the approach taken by the Murray−Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) in its consideration of the northern Basin sustainable diversion limit was to conduct analyses using the Basin's long-term climate record over the 114 year period 1895 to 2009. This dataset includes considerable natural climate variability from very wet periods to prolonged droughts, including the Millennium Drought, and allowed Basin Plan outcomes to be explored under a wide range of different climatic conditions representative of both past and future weather patterns. The approach is consistent with advice provided by the CSIRO on the climate baseline for Murray Darling Basin Plan modelling.

2. As part of its Murray−Darling Basin Sustainable Yields Project, in 2008 CSIRO concluded that there is a large degree of uncertainty around whether a wetter or drier future will eventuate in the northern Basin. In 2010, MDBA repeated CSIRO's analysis using updated modelling information and some minor analytical refinements. This MDBA study, Water Availability in the Murray-Darling Basin, reached the same conclusions as the CSIRO work