fruit and vegetablesIn its latest report on northern Australia, the CSIRO says there is enough water and suitable soil in the north to support almost 1.5 million hectares of irrigated agriculture.

That is 25 times more land, than the amount suggested in the 2010 report by the Northern Land and Water Taskforce.

The CSIRO’s Dr Peter Stone said methods on collecting and analysing data have improved a lot since 2010.

“The 2010 report gives a really accurate account of the understanding at that time,” he told ABC Rural.

“But what we’ve had the opportunity to do over the last five or six years is add to the water component of it.

“So since 2010, we’ve now got methods that can rapidly and pretty cheaply locate water resources, find out how much water is in a system and then analyse how you can capture, store and use that water.

“So really what’s changed, is our understanding of the water resources in the north and how they may be used for agriculture and other purposes.”

Dr Stone said researchers had now completed the first and only account of water availability for northern Australia and found that in an average year, of the 2 million gigalitres of water arriving there, around 15,000 gigalitres could be made available for irrigation. To read more at ABC Rural click here.

The Developing Northern Australia Conference Above the Line – unleashing the north’s potential will be held on 20-22 June 2016 at Darwin Convention Centre.

The Conference continues the dialogue started in 2015 following the release of the Australian Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia. To register your attendance at the conference CLICK HERE.  Early bird registrations close 6 May 2016, so be quick to receive a discounted rate.