The analysis, by the Australian Conservation Foundation’s economic adviser Simon O’Connor, shows a solid link between healthy rivers and a strong housing market.
“Houses in all parts of the Basin increased in value between 2006 and 2010, but house prices in regions where the river system remains in good health increased in value at a higher rate than house prices in the parts of the Basin where the river system is struggling,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Some opponents of a strong Murray-Darling Basin Plan have tried to suggest that returning more water to the environment would damage house prices in the Basin, but our study, using a more detailed set of data, tells a different story
“There is in fact a strong correlation between healthy rivers and healthy house prices.
“The best protection for regional communities and farming families is to keep the Basin’s rivers, Australia’s lifeblood, flowing.
“A strong Basin Plan is the best chance we have to secure a healthy environment and strong economy in the Basin."
The study used Australian Bureau of Statistics house price data from 90 councils and shires in the Basin and matched this information against the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s Sustainable Rivers Audit, which rated the ecological health of the Basin’s 23 major river valleys on a scale of extremely poor to good health.