Hydrology of the Murray Darling Basin

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The amount of water allocated to irrigation within the MDB has been contested since at least the early 1980s and possibly earlier. One way to understand the central challenges is to use the analogy of a pie chart. In any given year, the available water is completely allocated to different uses. This represents how the pie chart is divided up so that the total water allocation is 100%.  Currently, the major allocation of water within the MDB water is to irrigation. Reforms embedded within the much discussed MDB plan seek to increase the share of the available water for other uses (e.g., watering of wetlands, etc.). In concert with water allocation, one also has to ask; how might the available water change in future?  This is a question of climate variability and climate change. So to follow up the pie analogy, we need to divide the pie but we do not know how big it is from one year to the next. This is neatly described as a wicked problem.

From an earth science perspective, our challenge is to use scientific principles to develop insights with practical value.

Within this context, a number of suitable projects are available for students at different levels (e.g. undergraduate projects, Hons, MSc, PhD).

Prof Michael L. Roderick, GFD Group


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