Sharing the water: One hundred years of River Murray politics
Conflict over the control and sharing of the waters of the River Murray was one of the most contentious issues at the time of Federation. After four failed attempts, the River Murray Waters Agreement was signed in 1914 resolving the conflict. Fifteen iterations later, it is now the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement, and possibly Australia’s longest standing inter-governmental compact.
This book covers the making of the first River Murray Waters Agreement, in the early 1900s, the formation of the River Murray Commission in 1917, through to Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory joining the Agreement in the 1990s, the Water Act in 2007 and the Basin Plan becoming law in 2012. The book has been written by Chris Guest who, as a career public servant and economist, has had a long interest in water policy and politics, an interest that grew as governments sought to tackle the problems of over-allocation of water. The book was launched on 14 February 2017, one hundred years to the day that the commissioners of the newly formed River Murray Commission met for the first time.