Shortlist, An Ecosystem In Crisis by Jenny Evans
"The Murray-Darling Basin is one of the largest and most complex river systems in Australia. In 2008 the federal government established the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) as part of its Water for the Future initiative - a response to the drought and potential effects of climate change in Australia. The purpose of the MDBA was to manage water resources in a way that protected the environment, its communities and the industries that depend on it. Despite costly investment, the health of this vital river system has worsened. (Although some parts of the Basin are, or will be, better off due to the purchase of extra water.) As debate grows over the alleged mismanagement of The Murray-Darling Basin, farmers are in dire straits, locals are experiencing shortages of clean water and families living along the lower Darling are dealing with a water crisis usually experienced in Third World countries. The Darling River has become undrinkable and unsuitable for swimming or bathing. A review of the 2012 Barwon-Darling water sharing plan by the Natural Resource Commission found that it failed to protect the river, its dependent ecosystems, and communities. The draft report suggests that significant upstream water extractions allowed by the New South Wales (NSW) Government pushed the river below Bourke into drought three years earlier than upstream areas and the river was in crisis."