The Murray darling basin

The Murray darling basin

This drainage basin is the largest drainage basin in Australia. It takes up to 1/7th of the continent. It rises in the great dwindling range and flows south westwards. It’s headwater are found in Mt. Koseiusko, the largest mountain in Australia. The river is vital for agriculture since the interior of the country is very arid.

Uses

The rivers are used for 1) power 2) agriculture and 3) House hold use. 2,000,000 people live in the catchment area and the region is known as the “food bowl” of Australia producing some 30 % of the country’s total food production.

Sustainable development is essential as human use is balanced against natural needs.

Geology

The M.D. basin is a sedimentary bowl which is almost flat 60, 000,000 years ago the S.E, highlands were raised.

River flow

The Murray River starts in the Australian Alps Mountains. The flow is 1/365 of the Amazon River, however the Darling River starts in SE Queensland.

Wetlands

Many marshland areas exist near the river. These help to maintain bird species and bio diversity.

Cattle sheep and wheat

Cattle sheep and wheat represent the main forms of agriculture within the basin. Europeans introduced them in the 19th century

Transport

The M.D. has been used for navigation since 1853 by the 1880’s railways replaced the river as a means of transport.

General information

The basin holds 1/2 the sheep, 1/4 dairy beef cattle, All the cotton, rice, and oil seed and 1/2 the wheat. Therefore, the biggest use of the river is for irrigation. Dams weirs and storage of water. Environmental management is thus essential and the M.D. basin commission is responsible for the river.

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