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Abstract

This paper presents an application of multiple criteria analysis (MCA) to evaluate alternative strategies for managing the Lower Murray Reclaimed Irrigation Areas (LMRIA). The LMRIA region is located along the Murray River in South Australia, between Mannum and Wellington. It is estimated to contain around 170 dairy farms and provides around 200 jobs. Irrigation practices in LMRIA have created significant problems of River Murray water quality. A primary problem is the high levels of faecal contaminants entering the river through dairy effluent. Evaluation of management options using MCA allowed explicit incorporation of non-monetary criteria into the decision making process in a transparent manner. A panel of 10 persons with community and government backgrounds guided the MCA process by choosing and weighting the criteria. The MCA produced a different ranking of alternatives to a benefit cost analysis, highlighting the impact of incorporating non-monetary decision criteria.

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