Managing risks to water resources
The work presented under this River Management Issue has been funded by the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), but has widespread applicability to the rest of Australia in terms of the approaches used and key findings. We welcome any other work done by other agencies that would further supplement the material we have gathered here. Please contact us and let us know of other resources we should add.
Effective risk assessment and management processes are widely accepted as good business practice. The Water Act 2007 specifically requires the identification of risks to the condition, or continued availability, of the Basin water resources. Climate change has been identified as having probably the greatest future impact on water availability in the Basin and other parts of Australia. A number of real and potential risks to the quantity and quality of the Basin’s water resources have been identified. The risks are complex and their impacts vary across the Basin. The interactions between risks, their cumulative impacts and effectiveness of current actions need to be better understood. Strategies for addressing or managing such risks will need to be developed, while new and emerging risks are also identified and assessed.
The Risk Assessment Section within MDBA’s Natural Resources Management Division has funded a suite of projects to investigate such risks. These can be broadly clustered into: (1) risks driven by climate change (eg: drought, bushfire, salinity dynamics); (2) risks relating to catchment processes (eg: forest hydrology, afforestation, invasive species, floodplain dynamics, land use); and (3) risks arising from direct water interception and use (eg: current management arrangements).
The findings and knowledge gained from these projects are enlightening, we can now understand the likely impacts of these risks, the likelihood of their occurrence and their consequences. This should enable us to develop better management strategies for the future. Click here to learn more.