In the face of a mounting salinity threat the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council has developed a draft Basin Salinity Management Strategy which has recently been released for consultation. The Strategy will build upon the success of the Salinity & Drainage Strategy (S&D Strategy) which has operated since 1988. In reviewing the S&D Strategy after ten years the Murray Darling Basin Commission undertook a Salinity Audit of the Basin which was published in 1999. That Audit found that, whilst salinity had been contained in the Lower Murray for the time-being, the increasing outbreaks of dryland salinity around the margins of the basin and groundwater responses to clearing in the Mallee zone would result in a steady rise in river salinity for many rivers in the Basin. This would threaten the viability of those rivers at risk as a source of water for irrigation and urban uses. The ecological health of those rivers is also threatened. The paper describes the features of the Basin Salinity Management Strategy and the important elements of transition from the 1988 S&D Strategy from an irrigation perspective
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