Murray-Darling Basin, Australia

Murray-Darling Basin, Australia

Its Future Management

1st Edition - October 23, 2020

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  • Editors: Barry Hart, Neil Byron, Nick Bond, Carmel Pollino, Michael Stewardson
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128181522
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128181539

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Murray-Darling Basin, Australia: Its Future Management is a much-needed text for water resources managers, water, catchment, estuarine and coastal scientists, and aquatic ecologists. The book first provides a summary of the Murray-Darling River system: its hydrology, water-related ecological assets, land uses (particularly irrigation), and its rural and regional communities; and management within the Basin, including catchments and natural resources, water resources, irrigation, environment, and monitoring and evaluation. Additionally, the recent major water reforms in the Basin are discussed, with a focus particularly on the development and implementation of the Basin Plan. Murray-Darling Basin, Australia: Its Future Management then provides an analysis of the next set of policy and institutional reforms (environmental, social, cultural and economic) needed to ensure the Basin is managed as an integrated system (including its water resources, catchment and estuary) capable of adapting to future changes. Six major challenges facing the Basin are identified and discussed, particularly within the context of predicted changes to the climate leading to an increased frequency of drought and a hotter and dryer future. Finally, a ‘road map’ or ‘blueprint’ to achieve more integrated management of the Basin is provided, together with some ‘key lessons’ of relevance to others involved in the management of multijurisdictional river Basins.

Key Features

  • Provides a consolidated account of the Murray-Darling Basin system; an area of global relevance to those interested in rebalancing river systems where the water resources have been over allocated
  • Offers a detailed analysis of the current system and its management, with a focus on water and ecosystem management
  • Discusses a number of key challenges, particularly those related to climate change, facing future reforms to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan
  • Provides a blueprint for changes needed to ensure the Basin is managed as an integrated whole (from catchment to coast)


Water and natural resource managers; Academics; Water, catchment, estuarine and coastal policy experts; Irrigation companies, Environmental water managers, International water policy and management personnel

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction to the Murray–Darling Basin system, Australia
    Barry T. Hart, Nick R. Bond, Neil Byron, Carmel A. Pollino, and Michael J. Stewardson

    Section 1: Rural communities and water-related assets
    2. Rural and regional communities of the Murray–Darling Basin
    Carmel A. Pollino, Barry T. Hart, Martin Nolan, Neil Byron, and Rod Marsh
    3. Hydrology of the Murray–Darling Basin
    Michael J. Stewardson, Glen Walker, and Matthew Coleman
    4. Water-based assets of the Murray–Darling Basin and their ecological condition
    Nick R. Bond, Shane Brooks, Samantha Capon, Jennifer Hale, Mark Kennard, and Heather McGinness
    5. Ecological condition of the Lower Lakes and Coorong
    Justin Brookes, Kane Aldridge, Matthew Hipsey, Brendan Busch, Qifeng Ye, Matt Gibbs, and David Paton
    6. Water quality: Land use impacts on salinity, sediments, and nutrients
    Glen Walker and Ian P. Prosser
    7. Water quality in the Murray–Darling Basin: The potential impacts of climate change
    Darren S. Baldwin

    Section 2: Policy and management of the MDB
    8. Current water resources policy and planning in the Murray–Darling Basin
    Megan Dyson
    9. Current integrated catchment management policy and management settings in the Murray–Darling Basin
    John Riddiford
    10. Active management of environmental water in the Murray–Darling Basin
    Hilary Johnson, Michael Peat, and Jody Swirepik
    11. Monitoring, evaluation, and adaptive management in the Murray–Darling Basin
    Ben Gawne, Katie A. Ryan, Matthew Coleman, Alex Meehan, Peter E. Davies, Adam Sluggett, Andy Lowes, Neville Crossman, and Colin Mues

    Section 3: Climate change impacts in the MDB
    12. Climate change in the Murray–Darling Basin
    Penny Whetton and Francis Chiew
    13. Adaptation and policy responses to climate change impacts in the Murray–Darling Basin
    Anthony (Tony) Slatyer

    Section 4: Policy and management responses to other future challenges
    14. Future environmental water management
    Andrew K. Sharpe, Darren S. Baldwin, Fiona Dyer, and Iwona Conlan
    15. Empowering First Nations in the governance and management of the Murray–Darling Basin
    Sue Jackson, Rene Woods, and Fred Hooper
    16. Challenges to improved integrated management of the Murray–Darling Basin
    Rebecca Nelson
    17. The role of future science and technologies in water management
    Chantal Donnelly, Leo Lymburner, Ulrike Bende-Michl, Andrew Frost, and Eva Rodriguez
    18. The way forward: Continuing policy and management reforms in the Murray–Darling basin
    Barry T. Hart, Jason Alexandra, Nick R. Bond, Neil Byron, Rod Marsh, Carmel A. Pollino, and Michael J. Stewardson

Product details

  • No. of pages: 470
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2020
  • Published: October 23, 2020
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128181522
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128181539

About the Editors

Barry Hart

Professor Barry Hart is Director of the environmental consulting company Water Science Pty Ltd. He is also Emeritus Professor at Monash University, where previously he was Director of the Water Studies Centre. Prof Hart has established an international reputation in the fields of ecological risk assessment, environmental flow decision-making, water quality and catchment management and environmental chemistry. He is well known for his sustained efforts in developing knowledge-based decision making processes in natural resource management in Australia and south-east Asia. Prof Hart is currently a board member of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and a non-executive Director of Alluvium Consulting Australia Pty Ltd. He is also Deputy Chair of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing of Onshore Unconventional Reservoirs in the Northern Territory, which commenced in December 2016.He has received several awards, including the Limnology Medal (1982) from the Australian Society for Limnology, the Environmental Chemistry Medal (1996) and Applied Chemistry Medal (1998) from the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, a Centenary Medal for services to water quality management and environmental protection (2003) and was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2012.

Affiliations and Expertise

Director, Water Science Pty Ltd, Australia; Emeritus Professor Monash University

Neil Byron

Dr Neil Byron was the Commissioner responsible for environment, agriculture and natural resource management issues in the Productivity Commission from April 1998 to March 2010. He presided over twenty-six public inquiries and directed the PC's environmental economics program. Since 2008, he has been an Adjunct Professor in Environmental Economics at the ANU then at the University of Canberra. In 2014/15 he chaired an independent review of Biodiversity Legislation in NSW which led to the drafting of a new Biodiversity Conservation Act. Neil is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. From 2008 to 2011 he was a non-executive Director of a plantation forestry company in New Zealand and has been a Director of Earthwatch Institute Australia since 2010.

Affiliations and Expertise

Institute of Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia

Nick Bond

Prof Nick Bond’s primary interests are in the effects of flow variability on riverine ecosystems, especially the landscape scale effects of floods and droughts. His research combines empirical field studies with innovative quantitative modelling approaches. He has extensive experience working on river management and environmental flow issues in Australia and internationally, and has authored or co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed papers and numerous peer reviewed technical reports. His research focus is supported by active engagement with regional, national, and international water and natural resource management agencies to support evidence-based planning and decision making.

Affiliations and Expertise

Centre for Freshwater Ecosystems, La Trobe University, Wodonga, VIC, Australia

Carmel Pollino

Dr Carmel Pollino is a Principal Research Scientist at Land and Water, CSIRO. She has 20 years of experience working on water issues in Australia and throughout Asia. Carmel has a PhD in environmental science and a Masters in environmental law. She works across the science and policy interface, leading significant areas of research in Environmental Flows, Hydrology, Ecology and Integrated River Basin Planning. Carmel is the lead and also a contributor to global working groups on biodiversity, water and impact planning, and has published widely in these domains.

Affiliations and Expertise

CSIRO, ACT, Australia

Michael Stewardson

Over the last 24 years, Prof. Michael Stewardson’s research has focused on interactions between hydrology, geomorphology and ecology in rivers ( This has included physical habitat modelling, flow-ecology science, and innovation in environmental water practice. Michael has participated in Australia’s water reforms through advisory roles at all levels of government. More recently, his research has focused on the physical, chemical and biological processes in streambed sediments and their close interactions in regulating stream ecosystem services. He leads the Environmental Hydrology and Water Resources Group in Infrastructure Engineering at The University of Melbourne (

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Infrastructure Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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