Let's have swamps instead, apparently. Isn't it wonderful to have "experts" on the case? One reason for the much bemoaned low water levels in the Murray river is that large quantities of dam water have already been flushed down the Snowy and out to sea as "environmental" flows
Drought-hit Australia ["drought-hit"? Dam levels across Australia have been rising for the last year or so] must stop growing rice because it is too thirsty and uses 10 times as much water as other crops, an expert warns. Dr Eric Craswell, from the Australian National University, said rice should no longer be planted in the Murray-Darling Basin, and the water be allowed to flow through the river system to help the environment.
"People have said you shouldn't single out particular industries but I think in the case of rice there is an argument," he told AAP. "Instead of growing rice in the very wet years, let that water go down the river to rejuvenate the wetlands."
Dr Craswell - of ANU's Fenner School of Environment and Society - said most Australian rice was exported and questioned why the nation was growing rice for overseas markets when its own water was running so low. He said rice-growing should be left to countries with monsoonal climates like Thailand.
He pointed out that using a litre of water to grow vegetables or grapes produced 10 times as much revenue as using that water to grow rice. There has not been a significant rice crop in five years because of the drought. "The rice mills have been in mothballs for the last year," Dr Craswell said.
However Les Gordon, president of Ricegrowers' Association of Australia, said the commodity should continue to be grown because many countries were running out due to the world food shortage. "If we don't grow rice, you won't see rice on your supermarket shelves," Mr Gordon said.
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