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Murray-Darling drought may be permanent

There is no end in sight to the drought afflicting the Murray-Darling Basin and the big dry could become a permanent feature of eastern Australia, experts warn.

The latest Murray System Drought Update contains nothing but bad news for farmers and communities struggling to cope.

Even grimmer news is that it could become worse next year.

Meteorologists have warned another dreaded El Nino weather pattern - which brings dry weather to eastern Australia - could be on the way.

Dr Wendy Craik, chief executive of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission which oversees the nation's major food bowl, painted an ominous picture of the situation as she delivered the update.

"Unfortunately there is no improvement in sight," she said.

"The prognosis for the future's not good."

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