This article evaluates irrigated agriculture sector response and resultant economic impacts of climate change for a part of the Murray Darling Basin in Australia. A water balance model is used to predict reduced basin inflows for mild, moderate and severe climate change scenarios involving 1, 2 and 4 C warming, and predict 13, 38 and 63% reduced inflows. Impact on irrigated agricultural production and profitability are estimated with a mathematical programming model using a two-stage approach that simultaneously estimates short and long-run adjustments. The model accounts for a range of adaptive responses including: deficit irrigation, temporarily following of some areas, permanently reducing the irrigated area and changing the mix of crops. The results suggest that relatively low cost adaptation strategies are available for a moderate reduction in water availability and thus costs of such a reduction are likely to be relatively small. In more severe climate change scenarios greater costs are estimated. Adaptations predicted include a reduction in total area irrigated and investments in efficient irrigation. A shift away from perennial to annual crops is also predicted as the latter can be managed more profitably when water allocations in some years are very low.

Author names: 
Connor, J.
Schwabe, K.
King, D.
Kaczan, D.
Kirby, M.

Connor, J., Schwabe, K., King, D., Kaczan, D., & Kirby, M. (2009). Impacts of climate change on lower Murray irrigation. Australian Journal of Agricultural & Resource Economics, 53(3), 437–456

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