Sustainable Water Supply. How do human activities influence water supply and demand?. The Murray-Darling River Basin - Australia. Water supply and demand – competing uses. Where is it?.
Water supply and demand – competing uses.
The national capital Canberra, is located in the Basin along with many of Australia's major inland urban centres. Over 2 million people live in the Basin.
Thanks to the drought and too much water being taken upstream, a once great river has been reduced to use as a cricket pitch
The Murray-Darling Basin has reached record-low levels. The main reason for this is that Australia is experiencing its worst drought in possibly a thousand years. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, drought is part and parcel of life in Australia, simply because of its geographical location. Nevertheless, with climate change threatening to make matters worse, finding a solution to the water crisis is becoming more urgent.
The rise of salinity The river system already has serious problems with salinity. Agriculture is mostly to blame for this—land clearing increases the amount of naturally occurring salt rising to the river’s surface and irrigation uses groundwater with high saline levels. It is estimated that salinity costs the users of the Murray River $47 million each year. This is due to lower productivity; loss of recreation; and the impacts on biodiversity caused by poor water quality and shrinking floodplains and wetlands.
Chemical pollutionApart from pollution in the form of salt and clay particles, the water quality of the Murray-Darling Basin is threatened by sewage and storm-water pollution, and fertilizer and pesticide runoff. Pollution from irrigated dairy pastures has also produced faecal bacteria in the water. There has been a reduction in pollution over the last decade, however there are still concentrations of some chemicals.
5 (a) (i) Use Resource 3a to describe factors that may have accounted for the lack of river flow through the mouth of the Murray River in 2002. (10)
5 (a) (ii) Use Resource 3b to explain why Adelaide has a problem with the quality of drinking water extracted from the Murray River. (5)
5 (b) Identify the main conflicts that have arisen through the increased demand for water in this drainage basin. Use Resource 3c. (10)
5 (c) The use of water in the Murray-Darling Basin is no longer sustainable. Use Resources 3s, 3b and 3c to evaluate the importance of the different factors contributing to this problem (10)
5 (d) Resource 3d shows current methods of addressing the problems of sustainable water use. Assess their merits and limitations. Use all Resource 3 to help you answer. (15)