HALVING irrigators' water use would cost $2.7 billion a year and lead to the loss of 28,000 jobs, according to a report that will be used by farmers to campaign against moves to recover more water for the environment.
The report has calculated the impact of a 10 per cent, 25 per cent and 50 per cent reduction in irrigation water in the Murray-Darling Basin, The Australian Financial Review reports.
The report was funded by the Cotton Cooperative Research Centre into reforms planned to shift to an environmentally sustainable future.
The Murray-Darling Basin Authority has drawn up a draft plan for the future of the river system, including new limits on water use, but has angered irrigators by delaying its release until after the election on August 21.
The report on Social and Economic Impacts of Reduced Irrigation Water, by researchers Judith Stubbs and Associates, says a 25 per cent cut in irrigation water would cost the economy $1.4 billion a year and lead to 14,000 job losses. A 10 per cent cut would cost $600 million a year and 6000 jobs.