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Revised indicators of community vulnerability and adaptive capacity across the Murray–Darling Basin — a focus on irrigation in agriculture

This project was commissioned to measure the vulnerability, resilience and adaptive capacity of Basin communities to changes in water availability - due to a range of factors - in order to inform MDBA planning and decision-making.

This project reports on community vulnerability in two ways. First, community vulnerability before exposure to any water policy intervention (community vulnerability 'before exposure'); and second, exposure to a 2800 gigalitre sustainable diversion limit (SDL) water recovery scenario assuming 2005-06 commodity prices (community vulnerability 'after exposure').

The analysis of relative community vulnerability with the addition of exposure to the proposed Basin Plan 2800 gigalitre SDL water recovery scenario shows a cluster of communities in the southern Basin that exhibit very high vulnerability rankings. Community vulnerability to other water availability scenarios including 2400 gigalitre and 3200 gigalitre water recovery scenarios was also assessed.

The outputs of the project can be used in several ways - to help policy decision-makers understand the potential impacts and relative vulnerabilities of Basin communities to the proposed Basin Plan, and to work with community decision makers in the Murray-Darling Basin to better understand their circumstances and the factors that contribute to changes in their communities.

Author: Stenekes, N, Reeve, I, Kancans, R, Stayner, R, Randall, L & Lawson, K