Shoppers warned to brace for higher food prices as Murray-Darling Basin faces increasing dry

AND how responsible are our governments?


-allowing migration rates to continue despite these threatening circumstances

.and by the backdoor through Visas

-allowing up stream water diversion to take place at the expense of a whole catchment downstream knowing a drought was upon us
-allowing literally anyone to own water rights and be able to trade them at will

SO it’s governments and our politicians that have let us down by allowing our resources and infrastructure to be owned and operated by just about anyone who chooses to pay for them!


Shoppers warned to brace for higher food prices as Murray-Darling Basin faces increasing dry

ABC Rural By national rural reporter Caitlyn Gribbin

Updated Thu 5 SEPTEMBER 2019

A shopper at a fresh-food market

PHOTO: Shoppers should brace for higher food prices, as farmers deal with increasingly dry conditions. (ABC News: David Sciasci)

RELATED STORY: How water trading is reshaping what foods and fibres farmers are growing

RELATED STORY: Drought and climate change drive high water prices in the Murray-Darling Basin

RELATED STORY: NSW Farmers call for royal commission into Murray-Darling Basin Plan

There are warnings for consumers and farmers that Australia’s biggest food bowl, the Murray-Darling Basin, is bracing for a grim end to the year.

Key points:

  • Former AFP commissioner Mick Keelty is focusing on protecting water resources in the Murray Darling Basin as part of a crackdown on water theft and corruption
  • A drier-than-average spring forecast means some farmers will get little to no water allocations
  • Growers say the lack of water could increase the cost of produce for consumers

AUDIO: Food price hikes likely after dry Murray Darling Basin forecast (AM)

The weather bureau said the climatic outlook for the system for the next three months was bleak and the major dams that were already getting low, were unlikely to receive much-needed rain.

Both the Federal Water Minister and the Murray-Darling Basin’s ‘top cop’ have warned of a crackdown on those who were tempted to steal water.

“This is the food bowl for Australia … it’s really important that this area remains so viable to the economy of the nation,” interim inspector-general Mick Keelty told the ABC.

A man wearing a vest over a blue shirt stands before a section of river with the bush in the background

PHOTO: Mick Keelty warns of a crackdown on water theft across the Murray-Darling Basin. (ABC Rural: Caitlyn Gribbin)

The former Australian Federal Police commissioner has been asked to crack down on water thefts and corruption in the Basin.

He has been travelling through the southern part of the system with the Water Minister David Littleproud this week.

Mr Keelty said in the coming months, his focus will be on protecting the scarce resource of water.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a grim outlook, with a drier-than-average spring likely for most of Australia.

That forecast means no significant amount of new water will flow into the Murray-Darling Basin in the near future.

There will be less for farmers to use to irrigate their crops and some may get very small, or even no water allocations.

In addition, the system’s two biggest dams, the Hume and Dartmouth, were at 40 and 60 per cent capacity.

The brown water of the Murray River as seen from a boat in the middle of the river, surrounded by gum trees.

PHOTO: The bureau is forecasting less water to flow through the Murray River over the the next few months. (ABC Rural: Caitlyn Gribbin)

Warning of higher fresh food prices

Those on the land are worried about what the climatic outlook will mean for consumers who buy their produce.

Dean Morpeth grows nectarines, peaches and plums at Woorinen in northern Victoria.

He said some farmers will not have a crop this coming season.

Man stands with his arms crossed in front of blossoming fruit trees

PHOTO: Woorinen farmer Dean Morpeth says without water, some producers will not grow crops. (ABC Rural: Caitlyn Gribbin)

“It’s scary … I’m a fourth-generation farmer and you look at your land and then you see potentially that you’re not going to be able to farm it and make money,” Mr Morpeth said.

“We’d like to be successful but without water it’s impossible.”

a drawing showing the river catchments in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan

INFOGRAPHIC: The Murray-Darling Basin is Australia’s biggest food bowl. (Supplied: Murray-Darling Basin Authority)

Riverina rice grower Antony Vagg said consumers should expect to see supply suffer and prices spike.

“It might get to the point very soon where people can’t buy Australian rice off the shelf,” Mr Vagg said.

“They might not be able to buy Australian milk at a price that’s reasonable in a few years and that’s a change we’re experiencing.”

Mr Littleproud agreed people living in metropolitan areas would feel the pinch soon.

“This is their food bowl and obviously they scream when prices go up.

“Well, you’re going to see prices go up if there’s a lack of water,” Mr Littleproud said.

Mr Keelty warned he would be keeping a close watch on anyone tempted to tamper with — and illegally take water from — the system.

“A long summer is going to mean less water obviously and it’s going to raise the value of water,” he said.

“When the water value rises that presents a temptation for people to access when they’re not entitled to access.”

A shopper at a fresh-food market

SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-05/farmers-shoppers-warned-of-impact-of-murray-darling-basin-dry/11477182

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