Designs For The Future: The Role Of Sustainable Irrigation In Northern Australia
Free (open access)
293 - 302
J. K. Camkin, K. L. Bristow, C. Petheram, Z. Paydar, F. J. Cook, & J. Story
Northern Australia (NA) accounts for 40% of the Australian landmass, is largely undeveloped and is one of the few large natural areas remaining on earth. The interplay between the landscapes, rivers, groundwater and strongly monsoonal weather pattern has resulted in unique, diverse and iconic ecological systems that will need special attention to ensure their integrity is retained as development pressure increases. With 60 to 70% of Australia’s fresh water discharging from tropical rivers, and reduced water availability in much of southern Australia due to drought, climate change and increasing water demand, there is rapidly growing interest in the land and water resources of the north. The Australian Government has recognised this growing pressure and that there is a unique and historic opportunity to ensure the management and use of Australia’s northern land and water resources takes place within a strategic, sustainable framework. Taking this opportunity requires forethought about the future of NA and what role irrigation should play in that future. Key questions are whether irrigation should play a significant role, and if so, where should it be located, what should it look like and how should it be managed? Established in 2003, Northern Australia Irrigation Futures (NAIF) is a collaboration of four governments responsible for NA, research organisations and industry developing new knowledge, tools and processes to support debate and decision-making about the future of irrigation in NA. NAIF exhibits many of the characteristics of the emerging discipline of implementation and integration science. It has been a catalyst for further work to help understand and deal with the many complexities and uncertainties relating to decisions about the future of irrigation in NA. Keywords: Northern Australia Irrigation Futures, irrigation, hydrology, mosaics, decision-making, implementation and integration science.
Northern Australia Irrigation Futures, irrigation, hydrology, mosaics, decision-making, implementation and integration science.