Murray Darling river briefing to be streamed live

Science behind the headlines – Will the rivers run dry?

The science behind water, politics and the media in the Murray Darling Basin

As Australia moves closer to having a nationwide plan in place for the preservation of the Murray Darling river systems, many have sought to question the validity of the science, and indeed the scientists whose work has been pivotal in shaping it.

Director Dr Paul Willis will host a discussion as part of the RiAus Science behind the headlines series on the science behind the Murray-Darling Basin Plan this Tuesday night at the Science Exchange.

“The issues to do with water use and the survival of the Murray Darling Basin system have long provoked fierce debate and discussion in Australia,” Dr Willis said.

“Over the last few years this debate has intensified with anger, fury and outrage from both environmentalists and water users such as irrigators.

“Much of this venom has been directed at the scientists involved. For the media reporting on this issue it has all of the conflict and drama that they know makes for good news stories,” he said.

“There have certainly been accusations made that the draft plan has not been developed using the best science available – and that many scientists in Australia who have been involved have been accused of all sorts of things across communities in the Basin,” he said.

“This event will examine all of this and seek to answer questions such as how people feel about the plan in Queensland when compared to South Australia and how much of a role does the media have in generating and shaping public opinion?” Dr Willis said.

Dr Willis will talk with some of Australia’s leading experts in the field and to some of the media who report on these critical issues.

Guest panellists include:

· Prof. Barry Hart – Member of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and Former Director of the Monash Water Studies Centre

· Dr. Richard Davies – The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists

· Dr. Ben Gawne – Director, The Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre

· Tory Shepherd – Writer, The Punch (

· Daniel Wills – Political Reporter, The Advertiser

· Ed Sykes – The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC)

When: Tuesday 20 March 2012

6pm – 7:30pm local time

Where: The Science Exchange, Exchange Place Adelaide

The event will be livestreamed via