The Queensland Government revealed that improving the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef by reducing sediment and nitrogen runoff across the reef catchments would cost $6.3 billion or AU $8.2 billion. The majority, about $4.94 billion or AU $6.46 billion, would go to reducing the sediment coming out of the Fitzroy Basin up to 50 percent by year 2025.
An additional $841 million or AU $1.1 billion would go toward halving sediment runoff from the Burdekin Basin. Although the cost is 10 times what Australia state and federal governments presently spend, it is actually lower than the cost estimated in May.
According to the report, saving the Barrier Reef requires altering the use of land in some areas and teaching better management techniques for the area’s farmers. The solution also includes fixing gullies as well as upgrading infrastructure used for urban stormwater.
The rising ocean temperature is inevitable but with this proposition, Australia can provide the Great Barrier Reef with a better chance of surviving the impacts of climate change. The final targets for each catchment will be revealed later this year, the report says.
“This study is heartening as it shows our current level of government investment will make a difference,” points out Steven Miles, Queensland’s Environment Minister and the Minister for the Great Barrier Reef. “Together with private investment, I am confident we can make real progress towards our targets and deliver on our promise to protect the Great Barrier Reef for future generations to enjoy.”
A recent study from the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies revealed that about 35 percent of corals in the northern and central portion of the Great Barrier Reef are dead due to mass coral bleaching. Moreover, pollution from coal shipping also threatens the world’s largest coral reef system.