Rivers and wetlands will bear the brunt of climate change and governments around the world are failing to manage many of the more vulnerable areas properly, says a series of new papers published today.
Australia's Murray-Darling river system and the Coorang wetland at its western edge are among the world's most telling examples of damaged rivers, and the conservation plans being considered by the federal government could have wide influence, say several reports in the journal Marine and Freshwater Research.
"The world is watching how Australia manages the over-allocation of rivers caused by dam-builing and increasing effects of climate change," said Professor Kingsford, the director of the Australian Wetlands and River Centre.
Professor Kingsford said many of the wetlands along the system were already drying up and warmer temperatures in the future would accelerate the process.
While some regions, such as northern Queensland, can expect more rain as the climate warms, the net effect will be drier wetlands and smaller rivers as average rainfall decreases and more water evaporates.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald