'Urgent steps' needed to save Australia's biggest river system

phys.org | 2/18/2019 | Staff
Emzah92 (Posted by) Level 3
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The viability of a key river that feeds into Australia's biggest water system is under threat if poor conditions that killed millions of fish are not improved within six months, scientists warned Monday.

The management of the Murray-Darling River system, which stretches thousands of kilometres across several states and supplies Australia's food bowl, has been under close scrutiny following three mass fish deaths in December and January.

Authorities - Millions - Darling - River - Events

Authorities said millions of fish died in the Darling River events, blamed on low water flow and oxygen levels in the river as well as possibly toxic algae.

Leading scientists who studied the three bouts of kills said that while a severe drought plaguing inland eastern Australia contributed to the deaths, there were also "serious deficiencies in governance and management" of the river network.

Review - Kills - Water - Darling - System

"Our review of the fish kills found there isn't enough water in the Darling system to avoid catastrophic outcomes," said Craig Moritz, chair of the independent expert panel commissioned by the opposition Labor Party to investigate the deaths.

He said an analysis of rainfall and river flow data over recent decades points to "excess water extraction upstream" in the agricultural regions of Queensland and New South Wales (NSW)...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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