Meteorologists warn that the drought in the river basin, which covers much of eastern Australia, could become worse next year.
"There is no improvement in sight," Wendy Craik, chief executive of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, which oversees the country’s major food bowl, was quoted as saying. "Is this [drought] a permanent phase? Well, clearly we need to plan in case it is."
For the first time in recorded history, the water level of some inland lakes had plunged below sea levels, she added.
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