Water

Salinity fight goes on

By Country News

An independent report into salinity management in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has revealed that although programs to combat the problem are helping, there is still more work to be done.

Undertaken by the Independent Audit Group for Salinity, the report reviewed the first two years of the Basin Salinity Management 2030 Strategy, which has been run in conjunction with the basin plan since 2015.

Murray-Darling Basin Authority river management head Andrew Reynolds said the results of the report were encouraging.

‘‘The results of the independent review show we’re successfully fighting salinity and improving the quality of water flowing through our major rivers and waterways,’’ Mr Reynolds said.

‘‘This shows the basin plan is working.”

He said despite progress being made to improve water quality, managing salinity remained an ongoing challenge in the basin.

High salinity can cause production losses and degradation of the environment and wildlife habitats.

The report, which covered the period from July 2015 to June 2017, said high rainfall across the basin in 2016 led to significant flooding and resulted in an estimated 1.8million tonnes of salt flowing to the sea.

Salt interception schemes diverted an estimated 395000 tonnes of salt away from the river system in 2016-17, or more than a 1000 tonnes a day.

A separate MDBA report into the basin salinity strategy said ongoing work was needed to ensure salinity was kept in check.

■The two reports are available on the Murray-Darling Basin Authority website.