Drying basin

Monday, June 30th, 2008

The Australian    June 7 – 8, 2008  p.28
Dry future well ahead of schedule
      For the past decade, the autumn rains that heralded the grain planting season and produced winter pasture have failed in south-eastern Australia. This year was no exception: the last month was the driest May on record for Australia as a whole, while autumn 2008 was the eighth driest on record. For the Murray Darling Basin it was the fourth driest autumn on record, with a basin-wide average of just 40 mm of rain, well below the long term average of 128 mm. Autumn inflows into the Murray River were just 200 gigalitres or billion litres, the same as last autumn's record-setting low.  
    The head of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, Wendy Craik, warns  "there is really no improvement in sight".