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SAC 2a Unit 3: Regional resources AOS 1: Use and management of an Australian water resource.

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Presentation on theme: "SAC 2a Unit 3: Regional resources AOS 1: Use and management of an Australian water resource."— Presentation transcript:

1 SAC 2a Unit 3: Regional resources AOS 1: Use and management of an Australian water resource

2 Key Skills and knowledge Classification of a resource Definition of a region Identification and classification of selected regions Geographic characteristics

3 Key Skills and knowledge Importance of water as a resource in Australia Distribution of water resources Factors affecting water use Factors affecting the pattern of water use

4 Importance of water as a resource Water is unevenly distributed There is a high variability in annual amount of rainfall. Australia's rainfall in 2009 was 453mm, which was slightly below the long-term average ( ) of 464mm (BOM 2010b). There are high levels of evaporation Australia is the driest inhabited continent: 80% arid or semi-arid Australia has the second highest per capita consumption of water in the world. Irrigation is Australia’s major water use Australia experienced a 12 year ( ) drought which has been followed by two years of above average rainfall.

5 What are the Geographic characteristics of the Murray- Darling Basin region ? “What is there? What is it like?” Characteristics might include: location, size, shape Natural Features: Slope, soil types, wildlife, vegetation, climate, river Systems Human Features: land uses (agriculture, urban), roads, buildings, infrastructure (dams, irrigation channels) Not all regions of the Basin are the same and water availability and water use vary between regions. Summarise the geographic characteristics of various sub-regions of the MDB. Know the location of some of the major features of the Basin (towns, rivers, wetlands, agricultural regions)

6 Area: The basin covers km2, equivalent to 14% of Australia’s landmass or the size of South Africa. It is one of the world’s major river systems. It has 6% of Australia’s run-off but more than half the country’s water use occurs here. About the MDB

7 Many rivers contribute Major tributaries of the Murray Darling. Source:

8 Rainfall varies with seasons

9 Annual Rainfall in the MDB is unevenly distributed

10 Annual Rainfall Murray Darling Basin is uneven Source: Bureau of Meteorology 2010 Annual Rainfall - Murray Darling Basin

11 Distribution of climatic regions

12 The contribution of water to the Murray-Darling system is uneven Source: NP page 40

13 Flows in MDB rivers are naturally variable The Darling dried up 48 times at Menindee, between 1885 and 1960

14 Floods Balonne - Jan 2011

15 The Murray Darling Basin rivers are floodplain Rivers rivers

16 2 Million people live in the MDB Albury Wodonga Canbera Mildura

17 Water use varies Corryong – Headwaters of the Murray river

18 Example questions and answers Describe the Geographic Characteristics of the MDB?

19 Not such a good answer It’s big The rivers are long Farmers grow crops there Some towns get their water from the river A lot of people live there. People have built dams and changed the river. There are some problems with the water in the river. The rivers flow through a few states Lots of people go there on their holidays

20 Good answer The MDB covers 1 million square kilometres, equivalent to the size of France and Spain(It extends over75% of NSW, 60% of Victoria,14% of Qld,7% of SA,100% of ACT) The Murray is 2375 kms long and the Darling is 1472 km long It is a regulated river and in an average year 35% of the total water flow is diverted. It is naturally salty, but some human activities have increased the amount of salt in the river. In other parts of the world the amount of the water in a river increases as the river approaches the mouth. In the Murray the opposite is the case. Approx. 2 million people live in the Basin area and many cities and towns rely on the river for drinking water (including Adelaide) The MDB produces 40% of the total gross value of Australia’s agricultural product, including 70% of irrigation production. Mining and mineral production - $1.66 billion per year Manufacturing - in excess of $13 billion per year Forestry - more than $1.2 billion in wood and paper products Electricity generation - Basin has over 75% of the mainland’s hydro electric power stations In total, tourism in the MDB is worth over $ million.

21 Land Use Sheep and cattle were introduced to the region in large numbers Crops requiring large amounts of water were planted The country's growing population had to be fed Export markets needed to be established

22 Clearing ~15 billion trees were cleared to: Establish farms Supply fuel for the paddle steamers which moved goods from the inland farms to the ports

23 Irrigation The application of water to crops or pasture, especially in dry regions, to supplement rainfall Began in the 1880’s in Mildura Idea from California

24 Human uses Water is required to: – Generate power – Domestic – Industrial – Stock – Forestry – Mining – Recreation – Tourism – Irrigation, and….

25 Natural uses Water also provides a habitat for: – Mammals, – Birds – Reptiles – Frogs and – Freshwater fish. Some of these species are now endangered

26 The Murray river has been described as one of the hardest working rivers in the world, in terms of the amount of water that is taken out of it, and the variety of natural and human needs it supports

27 Important The Basin is Australia’s most important agricultural region Producing over 1/3 of the country's food supply Providing 39% of the national Income from agricultural production

28 There is a strong spatial association between the basins dry land farming regions and the production of beef cattle, sheep and wheat.

29 Irrigation Majority of all water used in Australia is consumed in the MDB (52% in 2009) mainly for irrigation Almost 90% of the water is diverted for use The basin contains: – 65% of Australia’s total irrigated land – 50% of the nations sheep – 25% of its cattle

30 Water needed in agricultural production To produce 1 kg of: wheat = 715 – 750 litres maize = 540 – 30 litres Soybeans = 1650 – 2200 litres Rice = 1550 litres Beef = – litres Wool = litres

31 Agricultural land use in the MDB See page 49 of your text

32 Water use for agriculture and income generated, Australia wide What uses the most water? What makes the most money? What has the best return?

33 State and territory shares of the basin and their water use

34 Human and natural uses In the past, the main role allocated to the river was to provide water for human use. Little thought was given to the needs of the river itself An unhealthy river = economical and social impacts & environmental

35 Unhealthy river Dying river red gums Declining fish numbers Algal blooms River not reaching the mouth Drought

36 Environmental Flows Water allocated to the river for a healthy river This water has to come from somewhere Suggested 4000 gigalitres a year needs to be returned to the river from farm allocations Gigalitre = 1,000,000,000 litres = 1,000 Megalitres = 1 million litres

37 Concerns with Environmental flows Concerns that returning the water to the river could lead to the decline of small towns Loss of thousands of jobs Loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in economic growth

38 Can you tell me the names of any wetlands or sites that have been allocated environmental flows?

39 Does water for the environment have any value? A healthy river can have benefits for regional economies and employment – Providing soil moisture for healthy plant life on riverbanks and flood plains – Enabling insects to flourish and pollinate crops – Replenishing aquifers and stabilising river banks through improved tree cover – Trees help keep the water table low, which reduces salinity and improves the level of carbon storage

40 Who uses the water? Water use is unevenly distributed Biggest regional users on average per year are located in the southern basin: – Murray (4338 Gl) – Murrumbidge (2257 Gl ) – Goulburn – Broken (1071 Gl)

41 Division of water Adelaide receives 42% of its water supply from the Murray and up to 90% in drought years

42 The MDB contains 65% of Australia's irrigated land. The long term average use of the basins 1.65 million hectares of irrigated land is

43 Produce People in Australia and overseas consume agricultural products Volume of water used for crops and pastures varies from year to year depending on: – Volume available for irrigation – Trading – Commodity prices


45 Remember You will be answering questions using unseen data Remember to use the “interpreting questions” If you can remember a stat or case study that will improve your answer use it Use your Spatial concepts and their methods

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