15 Jul 2011

Murray-Darling Basin report on water cuts

11:50 am on 15 July 2011

A new report on a plan for the Murray-Darling Basin has found big water cuts could spell the end of small country towns and communities.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority commissioned the report into the social impacts of the plan after a widespread outcry in Australia's food bowl.

The ANC says the report finds big cuts to irrigation would hit farmers hard and shows small towns would be the worst affected.

Cotton farmers in the Border Rivers region of New South Wales would lose a quarter of their production.

Even more people would abandon farms in the Riverland in South Australia.

However, the report says the overall effect on the economy of the basin would be small and that bigger towns would survive.

The ABC reports the final plan will not come into effect until 2019.