Economic effects of climate change in the Murray–Darling Basin, Australia
This study uses a hydro-economic model to examine the role of water trading, and the economic impacts of climate change and reduced surface water availability in the Murray–Darling Basin. The results show that losses to irrigated agriculture under a median climate change scenario are modest, but under a ‘modified 2030 dry extreme scenario’ there would be substantial reductions in water use, irrigated land use and profits. Nevertheless, the Basin-wide proportional economic impacts would be less than the percentage decline in water use. A comparison of model results with and without inter-regional water trade shows that inter-regional water trade in periods of much reduced water availability mitigates the on-farm impacts of climate change. Given that agricultural production in the Basin is likely to be affected by climate change, the development of drought-tolerant crops and cultivars along with learning and extension of best farming practices to reduced water use could also assist irrigated agriculture adapt to climate change within the Basin.
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