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Correcting Misconceptions about Links between Water Planning and Food Security in the Murray–Darling Basin


Correspondence: Lin Crase, Centre for Water Policy and Management, La Trobe University, University Drive, Wodonga, VIC 3690, Australia. Email:


Iterations of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan, designed to deal with environmental degradation, have raised questions about potential trade-offs between agricultural production and environmental amenity. Some have suggested that environmental objectives will be achieved under the Plan at the expense of food security. This argument is critically evaluated in this article. We conclude that the Plan cannot plausibly undermine local food security. Other factors, such as commodity prices, are more significant internationally. We also conclude that the current Basin Plan policy option may lead to more deleterious consequences than simple water entitlements purchased to achieve the environmental water reserve.