Balancing water use for food and the

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22 Φεβ 2014 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 7 μήνες)

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Balancing water use for food and the
environment: Looking to the North based on
lessons from the South

Gary Jones

Chief Executive, eWater

Adjunct Professor, University of Canberra

Institute of Applied Ecology


Fenner

Conference 2013

Population, resources & climate change: implications for Australia’s near future

Environmental impacts of agriculture


What have we learned from >100 years of
agricultural production in southern Australia?


Have we learned enough to expand agriculture
in the north without the ecological damage that
occurred in the south?


Is there a good case for northern agricultural
development?

R

Australian Water Resources (2005)

Land clearing


Land clearing and poor
irrigation practices
causing salinity

Erosion


Sand slugs


River mouth sedimentation and closure

Fertiliser run
-
off


Dams impact


on

flow regime

Floodplain

harvesting


Low river flows
leading to toxic
algal
blooms

Loss of floodplain

inundation


Loss of hydrologic connectivity


Decreased flooding leading to
loss of

Water Birds from floodplain
wetlands

Fish
-
passage


Degraded riparian habitat


Stock

impacts


Northern Australia


Northern Australia Land & Water Task Force
Final Report (2010)

Key findings

• There are critical gaps in our knowledge and data sources,
and in
our understanding of Indigenous knowledge.

• Despite high rainfall, the north is seasonally water limited.

• The ability to capture and store surface water for
consumptive use
is constrained by climate and topography.

• The development of groundwater resources provides the
best prospect to support new consumptive
uses of
water.

• There are approximately 600 gigalitres of groundwater
potentially available across northern
Australia that
could
support new consumptive uses.

Flinders
-
Gilbert Rivers

May 2013
-

Q
DNRM
has granted 6 water
licences
, including three
licences

in
the Flinders River catchment
totalling

80,000
megalitres
, and three in the
Gilbert River catchment
totalling

14,220
megalitres
.

Developing the North


Liberal Party (June 2013) 2030 Vision for
developing northern Australia


Developing a food bowl in Northern Australia
which could double Australia’s agricultural
production by 2030


CSIRO say 3
-
4% increase more likely


Australia already produces enough food to
feed 60 million people
-

we export 2/3


Food export/import

Integrated groundwater and
surfacewater

use

Coastal fisheries dependent on river flows


Indigenous water use and cultural values

Agricultural expansion in Northern Australia


We have learned much from >100 years of
agricultural production in southern Australia


We probably know enough to expand agriculture in
the north without the ecological damage that
occurred in the south ….but there are gaps


From a sustainable growth perspective, there
appears not to be a strong case for further northern
agricultural development
-

improving productivity in
the south may be more beneficial to Australia