18/01/2019

Australian Temperature Record Broken Twice In One Night

FairfaxRachel Clun

The record for the highest overnight minimum temperature has been broken twice in one night.
Weather stations at Noona, west of Dubbo, and Borrona Downs, west of Bourke, recorded overnight minimum temperatures of 35.9 degrees and 35.6 degrees respectively.
The record for hottest overnight temperature was broken overnight. Credit: John Veage
The NSW stations both broke the record set by a remote South Australian station almost 40 years ago, Bureau of Meteorology forecaster David Wilke said on Friday.
"The previous record for highest minimum temperature is 35.5, set on the 24th of January, 1982, at Arkaroola in South Australia, and that was equalled in 2003 in a place called Wittenoon in Western Australia on the 21st of January," he said.
Mr Wilke said that, as well as breaking national records, a number of stations broke their own records for the hottest overnight temperatures, including Tibooburra Airport, Cobar Airport and Coonabarabran Airport.
Minimum overnight temperatures would be slightly cooler over the next couple of nights, with minimums expected to hit the low 20s on Saturday, Mr Wilke said.
Overnight temperatures are forecast to stay in the low 20s across most of Sydney, making it hard to sleep. Credit: Christopher Pearce
Thanks to a trough moving across the state, temperatures in Sydney on Saturday will drop to 29 degrees in the city and 33 degrees in Penrith - a change of 13 degrees from Friday's forecast high of 45 in the west, he said.
However, Mr Wilke said the trough was not bringing a strong change, so temperatures would climb again into next week.
"The main problem is we don’t see the humidity really clearing out significantly," he said.
"We’ll see this relief from the heat in the next couple of days, particularly for the south-east, but the heat will continue building next week."


Fire ban, severe fire warning issued
The heat, combined with strong north-easterly winds on Friday have prompted the bureau to issue a fire weather warning for parts of the state on Friday.
The Rural Fire Service has also issued total fire bans for 13 areas.
Severe fire danger was forecast for the Southern Ranges and Southern Slopes regions, and a very high fire danger for areas around Canberra and the Illawarra and Shoalhaven areas.
The total fire bans were in places including the Illawarra and Shoalhaven, the greater Hunter area, and areas around Canberra.

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PM Morrison Says Australia Climate Target To Remain Unchanged, Despite Fiji's Criticism

SBS

The prime minister says Australia's emissions reduction targets will stay the same, despite criticism from Fiji about the need for a rapid shift to clean energy sources.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific Anne Ruston in Suva, Fiji. Source: AAP
Scott Morrison is sticking with Australia's climate change targets despite strong criticism from Fiji about the urgent need to move to clean energy.
The prime minister says Australia's emissions reduction targets will stay the same, but he did commit to spending money to help Pacific nations tackle the efforts of climate change.
Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said Australia cannot put the interests of one industry ahead of the lives of Pacific islanders.
Scott Morrison with former rugby league player Petero Civoniceva and Executive Chair of Fiji National Rugby League Peni Musunanasi in Suva.
"We have sensible, achievable commitments that will continue to ensure that Australia has a prosperous economy, and Australians will have the choices that they want in the future," Mr Morrison said in response on Friday.
"While at the same time respecting the need to address the real impacts of climate change, both here in the Pacific and elsewhere around the world."
Mr Morrison said Australia's emissions reduction targets were discussed in a meeting with Mr Bainimarama on Thursday.
"We are already pursuing those policies in a way that I believe is consistent with what the prime minister is expecting of Australia," Mr Morrison said.


Fiji PM tells Scott Morrison 'Australian coal is killing the pacific'

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the coalition government has no climate policy.
"It's a bit embarrassing that he had to go to Fiji to be told that he's doing nothing on climate change, when in fact millions of Australians could have told him that in Australia," Mr Shorten told reporters.
Mr Morrison also announced funding to support a Fijian team in the NSW rugby league super premiership, and a preseason NRL game in Fiji in 2021.
Mr Morrison will visit Black Rock on Friday, where Australia is funding an expansion of the military training centre.
The centre will be used to train militaries from around the Pacific islands.
The announcements are part of a "vuvale" partnership - from the Fijian word for family - that Mr Morrison and Mr Bainimarama agreed to on Thursday.
Mr Bainimarama said the relationship had been "rocky" after his 2006 military coup, but the return of free elections in 2014 had led to a thaw with Australia.

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Climate Change Is 'No Laughing Matter', Fiji's PM Frank Bainimarama Tells Australia During Scott Morrison's Pacific Trip

ABCStephen Dziedzic | Erin Handley

Frank Bainimarama said climate change could not be written off as a difference of opinion. (Reuters: Wolfgang Rattay, file photo)
Climate change is "no laughing matter" and poses an "enormous" threat to Fijians and Pacific Islanders, Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has warned Australia.
In a speech during his counterpart Scott Morrison's Pacific visit, Mr Bainimarama called on Australia to put the welfare of Pacific peoples before the interests of any single industry.
"Here in Fiji, climate change is no laughing matter," he said.
"From where we are sitting, we cannot imagine how the interests of any single industry can be placed above the welfare of Pacific peoples — vulnerable people in the world over."
It is the first time a political leader has publicly confronted Mr Morrison on the question of climate change during his Pacific tour.


Key points:
  • In the same speech, Frank Bainimarama lavished praise on Mr Morrison for his "Pacific step-up"
  • Scott Morrison has promised Australia will not neglect the Pacific
  • Fiji and Australia have committed to a "family partnership" in a sign of warming ties

In 2015, then-immigration minister Peter Dutton quipped about the fate of the Pacific Islands in the face of climate change, prompting laughter from then-prime minister Tony Abbott.
"Time doesn't mean anything when you're about to be … you know, have water lapping at your door," Mr Dutton said.
Mr Morrison, then the social services minister, pointed out to both men that a microphone was above them.
In his speech on Thursday, Mr Bainimarama said Fiji and Australia should be "good neighbours" and highlighted the searing temperatures dominating Australian cities this week.
"Prime Minister, I urged your predecessor repeatedly to honour his commitment to clean energy future, the only future that guarantees the survival of your neighbours in the Pacific," he said.


Peter Dutton quips about Pacific leaders facing climate change during chat with Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott

Mr Morrison declared that Australia would make sure it did not neglect the Pacific. (ABC News: Jed Cooper, file photo)
Mr Morrison's predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, abandoned the emissions reduction target in a bid to stave off a leadership challenge last year.A vocal proponent of climate change policy who led the UN's Climate Change Conference in 2017, Mr Bainimarama said the issue "cannot be written off as a difference of opinion".
"Consensus from the scientific community is clear, and existential threat posed to Pacific Island countries, a certainty."
Australia will not neglect the region: PM
But Mr Bainimarama also lavished praise on Mr Morrison for his so-called "Pacific step-up", and said he had "transformed" the Australia-Fiji relationship by visiting Suva.
"While it was a short flight to Suva, your presence has already taken our relationship a very long way indeed," he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, then the treasurer, used a lump of coal to make a point in Parliament in 2017. (ABC News: Nick Haggarty)
Mr Morrison's engagement with the Pacific set a "new precedent" and was "absolutely a step in the right direction", he added.
"When our nation and our people have been left devastated in the aftermath of ever-worsening cyclones, Australia has always proven to be a friend we can count on," Mr Bainimarama said.
No Australian prime minister has come to Fiji since 2006, and Mr Morrison's trip is aimed at shoring up Australia's influence in the nation, which has been courting Chinese investment.


Lowy Institute Pacific Aid Map
Aid is an important resource for the Pacific Islands region, but public information is often lacking. The Lowy Institute Pacific Aid Map is designed to enhance aid effectiveness.

Fiji and Australia yesterday agreed to a host of new initiatives and committed to a "Vuvale Partnership" (or "family partnership") in a sign of warming ties.
Both countries have agreed to more regular ministerial meetings, while Australia has promised to send Border Force officials to Fiji to offer local guards training.
Australia has also pledged $84 million for a new partnership with Fiji's University of the South Pacific, and $17 million to provide 1,000 hours of Australian television content each year to Pacific broadcasters.
Mr Morrison declared that Australia would make sure it did not neglect the region.
"One of the risks of close relationships is sometimes they can be taken for granted, and there are periods in our past where that has been the case," he said.
"Not now. And not in the future if there's anything my government has to do with it."
Some Australian diplomats were anxious that the stoush over Islamic State extremist Neil Prakash would overshadow the visit.
Fijian officials were angered when Australia stripped Prakash of his citizenship, arguing he was instead entitled to Fijian citizenship through his father.
But Fiji insists Prakash and his family were never registered as citizens, and have made it clear Prakash would not be welcome.
When questioned, Mr Morrison said Mr Bainimarama had not raised the issue at all in Thursday's talks — indicating the two men had smoothed over the issue before sitting down in Suva.

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17/01/2019

Dead Fish Could Stink Up The Election Campaign

FairfaxShane Wright

The Australian climate has interceded in national politics more than once.
Malcolm Fraser went to the electorate in 1983 at the height of one of the harshest droughts on record.
Tony Burke, federal Labor's environment spokesman, visited the site of the massive fish kill at Menindee.
Credit: Tony Burke
The previous year's wheat crop had been the worst in decades for much of the east coast, while many graziers were forced to destroy livestock left without feed or water.
Just weeks ahead of the 1983 election, the Ash Wednesday bushfires killed 75 people in Victoria and South Australia, destroyed more than 3700 buildings and resulted in the death of an estimated 340,000 sheep.
The government could not be blamed but there were some within the Liberal Party that argued Malcolm Fraser  had been blamed for everything – including the drought.
That was, perhaps, brought home when within a fortnight of Bob Hawke's victory, record-breaking rains fell across the parched landscape.
In 1991 the NSW government declared a state of emergency after a 1000km blue-green algal bloom erupted down the Darling River.
The pictures of the bloom, and the public demand for action they elicited, forced governments across the Murray-Darling basin to take the first steps towards better management of our water systems.
The 2007 election was not marred by environmental disaster but climate – and the Howard government's response to climate change – became a hammer blow used by Kevin Rudd.
Less than three years later it was Rudd being hammered. The man who declared climate change the great moral, social and economic challenge was gone after he failed rise to the challenge he had identified.
Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull continued the climate change wars, both succumbing to wounds inflicted by themselves and others. And when Scott Morrison replaced Turnbull, the new PM's first visit was to drought-afflicted Queensland before assembling a "drought summit".
Now 14 weeks out from the expected May federal election, the environment has interceded in the political debate again.
The pictures, video and social media posts of the fish kill around Menindee on the Darling River have been visceral.
Images of old and angry fishermen and farmers, holding up the rotting carcasses of Murray cod have been beamed into the nation's lounge rooms or on to our smart phones.
In the face of criticism from those fishermen, farmers and locals, the Morrison government has effectively said "let's hope for rain" and "it's the drought".
The problem with that argument is that it may very well be exposed by a South Australian royal commission into the Murray-Darling and its management.
In less than a fortnight, the royal commission started by then SA Premier Jay Weatherill is due to report.
The evidence to it, particularly about the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, has been compelling.
And the findings may be as politically toxic as those rotting fish in the Darling.
In his final address, senior counsel assisting the commission Richard Beasley did not hold back in his criticisms of the MDBA and its political masters who are scattered across the federal, NSW, Queensland, SA and Victorian spheres.
Describing issues of "maladministration" and "unlawfulness", Beasley sheeted home blame to those in charge.
"The implementation of the [Murray-Darling] basin plan has been marred by maladministration. By that I mean mismanagement by those in charge of the task in the basin authority, its executives and its board, and the consequent mismanagement of huge amounts of public funds," he said.
"The responsibility for that maladministration and mismanagement falls on both past and current executives of the MDBA and its board."
The commission heard evidence of how problems setting the amount of water put aside for the environment started under the Rudd government and have continued ever since. That includes the past six years of oversight by the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government.
The coalition, particularly the National Party, was always more interested in modernising the irrigation systems across the Murray-Darling rather than buying allocations direct from willing sellers.
A draft report from the Productivity Commission found the government's preferred process has been extremely expensive – upgrading irrigation pipes and drains is twice the cost of buying water on the open market.
While the PC found the upgrade irrigation system process has "lessened" the socio-economic costs of directing water to the environment, it too was just as damning as Beasley to the royal commission.
It noted that the evidence so far was that while the process had provided "a number of private benefits for irrigators" this had failed to sustain regional farming communities.
Like those rotting fish, the PC's final report is just waiting to go off. Delivered to the government last month, the report has to be made public soon – almost about the same time as the royal commission reports to the SA government.
Scott Morrison needs almost everything to go right for him to win this year's election.
There are those things he can control directly, such as government policy; there are those things he has to target, such as Bill Shorten and Labor's overall policy agenda; and then there are those issues that come from left field.
Scientists have been warning for decades about the problems facing our most important inland water system, so it's difficult to claim the events playing out on the Darling are truly a surprise.
But the footage of men holding aloft dead Murray cod while surrounded by rotting carp, yellowbelly and bony bream was not expected. Nor the record temperatures of recent days which has turned parts of NSW, Victoria and South Australia into fan-forced ovens.
It may be just another sign of how the natural environment, if ignored for too long, finds a way to seep into the national political discourse.

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Our Oceans Broke Heat Records In 2018 And The Consequences Are Catastrophic

The Guardian

Rising temperatures can be charted back to the late 1950s, and the last five years were the five hottest on record
Bleached coral in Guam. The heating of oceans is causing tremendous problems for sea life.
Photograph: David Burdick/AP
Last year was the hottest ever measured, continuing an upward trend that is a direct result of manmade greenhouse gas emissions.
The key to the measurements is the oceans. Oceans absorb more than 90% of the heat that results from greenhouse gases, so if you want to measure global warming you really have to measure ocean warming.
There are other ways to measure climate change, but none are as convincing as the oceans. Air temperatures are most commonly reported in the media as evidence of global warming, but the problem with these is they are very erratic. While there is certainly a long-term trend of higher air temperatures, any given year may be warmer or colder than the last.
So oceans are key, and they are telling us a clear story. The last five years were the five hottest on record. The numbers are huge: in 2018 the extra ocean heat compared to a 1981-2010 baseline amounted to 196,700,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules. The current rate of ocean warming is equivalent to five Hiroshima-size atomic bombs exploding every second.
The measurements have been published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences in an article by Lijing Cheng, the lead author, and his colleagues from the Institute for Atmospheric Physics in China. His collaborators, of which I am one, included researchers from around the world. The article charts ocean heat back to the late 1950s, showing a steady increase.
2018 was the hottest year measured for Earth’s oceans
compared with the 1981-2010 average

Guardian graphic. Source: Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.
*Change in ocean heat content in zettajoules (1021 joules)
Ocean warming is incontrovertible proof of global warming, and there are real consequences to a warming ocean. Firstly, warmer water expands, and this expansion causes sea levels to rise. Approximately a third of the rise in ocean waters is a result of the heat absorbed by the oceans. Scientists expect about one metre of sea level rise by the end of the century, which would be enough to displace 150 million people worldwide.
The warming waters also make storms more powerful. In the US recently, we have seen hurricanes pass over extremely warm ocean waters, which has supercharged them and increased the damage they cause. Other kinds of storms are also being made stronger. Heavier downpours of rainfall are increasing flooding around the world. Simply put, our emissions of greenhouse gases have caused loss of life and property. We are all responsible, but the people who have denied the science and the solutions own a special responsibility that history will judge harshly.
It isn’t just humans that are suffering and will suffer more in the future. The heating of oceans is causing tremendous problems for sea life, particularly coral reefs. If we continue to warm the planet, we can expect to lose much of these reefs. We can also anticipate reductions in fish and sea life populations.
We scientists sound like a broken record. Every year we present the science and plead for action. Not nearly enough is being done. We can still tackle climate change, but we must act immediately. We have the means to make a difference, we lack only the will.

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World Economics Forum: World ‘Sleepwalking Into Catastrophe’ Over Climate Risk

AFR - James Fernyhough

Global business leaders have identified the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change as by far the greatest long-term risk facing the world, in a hard-hitting report released by the World Economics Forum ahead of its annual meeting in Davos next week.
The Global Risks Report, which represents the views of business, academia and government, warned that the world was "sleepwalking into catastrophe" in its failure to produce and implement adequate policies to address the problem.
Environmental concerns eclipsed shorter term risks such as trade wars, social instability and economic crises. But the report warned the current geopolitical instability and a retreat into nationalism would make it harder to address longer term environmental risks.
Climate change, which will likely cause more bushfires and extreme weather events, is increasingly considered the major long-term risk by business. Dean Sewell
"The world's ability to foster collective action in the face of urgent major crises has reached crisis levels, with worsening international relations hindering action across a growing array of serious challenges. Meanwhile, a darkening economic outlook, in part caused by geopolitical tensions, looks set to further reduce the potential for international co-operation in 2019," the WEF warned.
"Of all risks, it is in relation to the environment that the world is most clearly sleepwalking into catastrophe."
Source: Executive Opinion Survey 2017, World Economic Forum
The 108-page report, the 14th annual report of its kind, was produced in partnership with two global insurance giants: brokerage Marsh & McLennan Companies, and insurer Zurich. The universities of Oxford, Pennsylvania and Singapore were also involved.
About 1000 global experts and decision-makers in big business, government, and academia were surveyed for the report about the areas they considered the major risks. Businesspeople made up the biggest single group of respondents.
The prominence of climate-change risk represents a surge in concern in the business community over an issue that 10 years ago did not even make the top five issues.
In this year's report, three of the top five risks – by both likelihood and impact – were environmental. Other major risks, such as water crises and forced migration, although not classed as environmental risks, were directly related to climate change.
An armed member of the Swiss Police watch from the roof of the Hotel Davos in Davos, Switzerland, where the World Economic Forum will take place. Simon Dawson
'High stakes'
The report comes a week before the forum's high-profile annual conference in Davos, Switzerland, in which chief executives from 1000 of the biggest companies meet with world leaders to discuss the big political and economic issues. The report will form the basis of discussions.
WEF president Børge Brende said the report highlighted the need for "new ways of doing globalisation".
"Renewing and improving the architecture of our national and international political and economic systems is this generation's defining task. It will be a monumental undertaking, but an indispensable one. The Global Risks Report demonstrates how high the stakes are – my hope is that this year's report will also help to build momentum behind the need to act."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison claims Australia will meet its Paris emissions targets 'in a carter', but official government figures suggest this is not true. MICHAEL FRANCHI
Sean Walker, chief underwriting officer for general insurance at Zurich Australia, said it was no surprise environmental risks dominated the report "in a year that's been characterised by bushfires, heatwaves and flooding".
"Australian businesses should be building climate-change resilience and adaptation strategies into their broader business plans. These plans need to be real and tangible, not treated as some 'horizon three' or 'black swan' conceptual event but as something to be addressed as part of a new operating environment," he said.
"This week, heat records have been broken in Western Australia, NSW and South Australia, and if these conditions persist there will undoubtedly be an impact on business."
Insurers have been at the vanguard of business efforts to tackle climate change because they will be among the first businesses to feel the financial effects of extreme weather events and rising sea levels.
The report comes less than a month after official figures showed the Morrison government was set to miss its 2030 carbon emissions reduction targets by a huge margin, contradicting its claim it will meet the Paris Agreement targets "in a canter".

The risks
Respondents rated "extreme weather events" and "failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation" as by far the two most serious risks in terms of likelihood and impact.
Water crises, biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and natural disasters were also high on the list.
Source: Global Risks Perception Survey 2017-2018, World Economic Forum
The risk of cyber attacks was the only issue unrelated to climate change to score above average in both impact and likelihood categories.
The survey showed "weapons of mass destruction" was considered the risk that would have the single biggest impact, but least likely to eventuate.
Failure of national governance and profound social instability were considered far lower long-term risks than environmental catastrophe, scoring an average rating on likelihood, and below average on impact.
Terrorist attacks, unemployment, state collapse and energy price were all considered below-average risks on both likelihood and impact scales.
Asset bubbles in major economies and data fraud or theft were considered above average in likelihood but below average in impact.
Breakdown of critical information infrastructure and outbreak of infectious disease were considered high impact but below average in likelihood.
While environmental risks dominated the long-term outlook, the very short term – over the next year – was dominated by concerns relating to geopolitical tensions over trade, as well cyber security.

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16/01/2019

'Drought, Climate Change And Mismanagement': What Experts Think Caused The Death Of A Million Menindee Fish

ABCNick Kilvert

(Supplied: Graham McCrab)
The sight of more than a million fish floating belly up on the Darling River at Menindee has thrown doubt over the management of the Murray-Darling Basin.
Experts say irrigators are taking too much water from the system, and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority has mismanaged water flows.
But New South Wales Water Minister Niall Blair says drought is to blame.
With more fish likely to die, here's what we know about the mass deaths and what some independent experts have had to say.

Where are fish dying?
A million fish were found dead at Menindee Lakes last week.
It's a series of seven lakes fed by the Darling River, about 90 kilometres south-east of Broken Hill in western New South Wales.
The Menindee Lakes, south of Broken Hill, are connected to the Darling River.
It's believed to be one of the largest fish kills ever recorded in Australia.
Then a smaller kill of about 60 fish was reported at Lake Hume yesterday, on the NSW-Victoria border. But the cause of that kill is still unclear.

What killed the fish?
A variety of factors were at play at Menindee. Water levels were very low, the system had stopped flowing, and temperatures were high after a long spell of hot weather.
This created ideal conditions for blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) to grow, and it "bloomed" out of control.
But it wasn't the algae that killed the fish.
A cold front hit the region, which dropped the water temperature in the river, killing the algal bloom.
The bacteria that feeds on dying algae then exploded out of control, and sucked all the oxygen from the water.
When the oxygen levels dropped too low, the fish drowned.

So who or what is to blame?
The blame game began almost immediately after the Menindee fish kill was reported.


(ABC News)

Farmers Rob McBride and Dick Arnold, whose video of dead Murray cod went viral, pointed the finger at cotton growers and politicians.
But others blame mismanagement by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), and the NSW Government blames drought.
The big question is: why was the river in such a state that a blue-green algae outbreak of this scale could occur?
Here's what four experts working in the fields of river ecology, policy, management and economics told us.

1. Expert in water economics, environment and policy
Adjunct Professor John Williams from the Australian National University said you couldn't blame the drought.
"To manage a river you've got to be able to manage it through a drought without killing all the fish," Professor Williams said.
"We didn't put enough environmental water aside, and then we've continually eroded the little we did allocate with the recent amendments both in the north and to the south."
(Emma Brown)
Environmental water is water set aside to be released into the river system when needed.
In 2018, the Turnbull government won support from Labor to amend the amount of environmental water allocated to the system, while the Greens and some senators were opposed.
The amendments cut 605 billion litres a year that were allocated from the southern basin's environmental water flows, and 70 billion litres a year from the northern basin's flows.
Professor Williams said if more environmental water was allocated to the system, it could be used in times of drought to help flush the system, reduce nutrient levels, help drop water temperatures and oxygenate the water.
"Yes, it is hard to manage rivers like the Darling through drought, but that's Australia. If you haven't got a management plan that can manage the water through drought in the Darling, you haven't got a plan," he said.
"We're taking a hell of a lot of water out. We had good flows 18 months ago.
"We want working rivers, we want irrigation, but we need to know how much we can take and regulate it pretty strongly."

2. Expert in conservation biology, wetland and river management
Professor Richard Kingsford from the University of New South Wales said farmers and irrigators were suffering from the drought, but water management was a big issue.
"Certainly the drought is a contributing factor. The bigger issue is that this has been coming for a long time in the Darling," he said.
"Over the last 20 or 30 years, we've reduced flows coming into the Menindee lakes from upstream and down the Darling by almost 50 per cent. And it means there's less water in the river than there used to be."
As well as extracting water from the river, licences allow some irrigators to capture overland flows.
Overland-flow capture means diverting rainwater into storage before it reaches the river, which in turn leads to less water entering the system.
"Some cotton growers in the Darling River tributaries have managed to capture some of the water in the recent rains that have occurred, and that's part of the licencing system that allows them to do that, to harvest those flows," he said.
(Facebook: Debbie Newitt)
3. Expert in water policy reform
Professor Michael Young from the University of Adelaide said the Murray-Darling Basin Authority had failed to plan for lean times.
"We've put a lot of effort into debating what is called the 'sustainable diversion limits', which is working out the maximum amount that can be taken when the tank is full," he said.
"We've put very, very little effort into working out how to manage times of low flow and who's responsible for that."
In the United Kingdom, there is a policy called "hands-off flow", where water is released at the top of a system and that water cannot be extracted as it works its way downstream.
But in Australia, things are different.
"In much of the Darling at the moment we don't have mechanisms in place to shepherd water through the system," Professor Young said.
"The licences people hold are often a function of the height of the river. If one person leaves water in the river, the next person says, 'thankyou I'll take some more'."

4. Expert in ecology, management and restoration of aquatic ecosystems
Professor Robyn Watts from Charles Sturt University said that drought, climate change and mismanagement had all contributed to the state of the river.
"There's a lot of complexity around this fish kill," she said.
"It's hard to know if that could be avoided because there's so much complexity around the Menindee Lakes system in terms of who's been taking water upstream and whether it's been taken legally."
But she said there were things that could be done in the short term to avoid more fish kills.
(Supplied)
During previous events, locals have improvised their own aerator systems, pumping oxygen into affected waterholes and moving cooler, deep water to the surface.
"Where these refuges were created … we got the most adults and the most fish larvae," she said.
Yesterday, the New South Wales Government announced it would be installing aerators at a number of sites across the state.

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Lethal Heating is a citizens' initiative