Water Resources Research

Water Resources in the Murray-Darling Basin: Past, Present, and Future

Water Resources Research, vol. 47, no. 12, 2011

The Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) (~1 million km2) occupies nearly all of mainland southeast Australia except for a small sliver along the coastal fringe. Around 10% of the Australian population (~2 million people) live within the basin, and MDB farms produce around 40% of the Australian agricultural output.

  1. Regular Article

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    2. Regular Article
    1. You have free access to this content
      An investigation into changes in climate characteristics causing the recent very low runoff in the southern Murray-Darling Basin using rainfall-runoff models

      N. J. Potter and F. H. S. Chiew

      Version of Record online: 18 OCT 2011 | DOI: 10.1029/2010WR010333

      Key Points

      • There have been large reductions in recent runoff in the southern MDB
      • Reductions in mean annual rainfall alone can not explain the runoff decline
      • Estimates of the effect of other recent hydroclimatic changes are calculated
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      The role of tropical modes of variability in recent rainfall deficits across the Murray-Darling Basin

      B. Timbal and H. Hendon

      Version of Record online: 13 SEP 2011 | DOI: 10.1029/2010WR009834

      Key Points

      • We analysed the characteristics of the recent rainfall decline across the MDB
      • The strong decline in the south is due to the strengthening of the STR
      • MDB rainfall deficit is not explained by the known tropical modes of variability
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      Optimal dynamic water allocation: Irrigation extractions and environmental tradeoffs in the Murray River, Australia

      R. Quentin Grafton, Hoang Long Chu, Michael Stewardson and Tom Kompas

      Version of Record online: 30 JUN 2011 | DOI: 10.1029/2010WR009786

      Key Points

      • Method to quantify the tradeoffs between competing uses
      • Method to optimize water allocation decisions
      • Importance of pulse events when generating environmental flows
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      A simple framework for relating variations in runoff to variations in climatic conditions and catchment properties

      Michael L. Roderick and Graham D. Farquhar

      Version of Record online: 21 JUN 2011 | DOI: 10.1029/2010WR009826

      Key Points

      • A new simple approach to estimating the sensitivity to runoff change
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      Steps toward “useful” hydroclimatic scenarios for water resource management in the Murray-Darling Basin

      Anthony S. Kiem and Danielle C. Verdon-Kidd

      Version of Record online: 16 JUN 2011 | DOI: 10.1029/2010WR009803

      Key Points

      • There is a gap between what climate science can provide and info needed by WRM
      • Robust quantification of uncertainty and “win-win” adaptation is needed
      • Danger that “worst case” projected by GCM may not be worst case possible
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      Dynamics of Murray-Darling floodplain forests under multiple stressors: The past, present, and future of an Australian icon

      Ralph Mac Nally, Shaun C. Cunningham, Patrick J. Baker, Gillis J. Horner and James R. Thomson

      Version of Record online: 14 JUN 2011 | DOI: 10.1029/2011WR010383

      Key Points

      • Human actions are engendering severe stresses on forests and their biota
      • Flow-on effects of water harvesting is the prominent stressor
      • Effects of direct human actions are exacerbated by climate change
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      An experimental streamflow reconstruction for the River Murray, Australia, 1783–1988

      Ailie J. E. Gallant and Joëlle Gergis

      Version of Record online: 26 APR 2011 | DOI: 10.1029/2010WR009832

      Key Points

      • Remote paleoclimate proxies can infer variations in local hydroclimates
      • The 1998-2008 River Murray streamflow deficit is unusual
      • Understanding of hydroclimatic variability limited by instrumental record length
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      Water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin

      Daniel Connell and R. Quentin Grafton

      Version of Record online: 9 APR 2011 | DOI: 10.1029/2010WR009820

      Key Points

      • Attempted comprehensive management
      • Shift in role of governments
      • Water difficult in federal system
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      Hydroclimatic projections for the Murray-Darling Basin based on an ensemble derived from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change AR4 climate models

      Fubao Sun, Michael L. Roderick, Wee Ho Lim and Graham D. Farquhar

      Version of Record online: 1 APR 2011 | DOI: 10.1029/2010WR009829