An international student was inspired to work at the MDBA this year to find out how our state and federal governments are working together to fix the health of the Murray–Darling Basin.
This idea of cross-border cooperation over water management was new to Yale student Michelle Camp.
“I wanted to see firsthand the integrated approach taken here. The relationship between the states in Australia is unlike that in America,” Michelle said.
“The main difference between the management of the Colorado River and that of the Murray–Darling Basin is collaboration.”
The Colorado Basin and the Murray–Darling Basin have many things in common—climate, semi-arid terrain, variable rainfall, high agricultural output and millions of people to support. And like the Murray–Darling, the Colorado flows within just one country but across numerous state borders.
Unlike the Murray–Darling Basin though, the Colorado is not run as a single system. It has multiple dams and channels operated independently by the seven states it runs through, whereas Murray–Darling asset management is coordinated by a central agency – the MDBA.
The desire to learn how the MDBA carries out this role spurred Michelle to get in touch.
“I wanted to learn about and contribute to water management at an organisation that is widely considered to be the world leader,” she said.
“Internationally, the management of the Murray–Darling Basin is seen as highly progressive, in that it has the environment as one of its key focuses.”
While at the MDBA Michelle spent time learning about stakeholder engagement, water resource planning and environmental water planning.
Michelle is now back at Yale, working on her Master of Environmental Management thesis. Once she’s earned her degree, she plans to work on sustainable water management for her home state of Texas, guided by the MDBA’s work in the Murray–Darling Basin.