Northern Australian irrigation futures: providing new knowledge, tools and processes to support debate and decision making regarding irrigation in northern Australia

1 Jan 2006

The Northern Australia Irrigation Futures project has been established as a collaborative arrangement between the Australian, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australian Governments to provide new knowledge, tools and processes, including an overarching framework, to support debate on irrigation related issues in Northern Australia. The project aims to build on past experience of irrigation and develop new knowledge of groundwater systems and irrigation mosaics to improve understandings of risks associated with irrigation and the key landscape attributes critical for ecologically sustainable irrigation in northern Australia. In particular, the project aims to delineate key landscape attributes (including soil and water resources, climate, vegetation, rivers, near shore marine environments, and where appropriate links to people, industries, markets) relevant to ecologically sustainable irrigation across northern Australia, to use key landscape attributes to develop sustainability indicators and associated management criteria covering a range of scales (field, farm, district, irrigation scheme, catchment) for northern Australia, to develop an overall framework that, through their involvement, is embraced by policy makers, regulators, investors and managers, to help ensure any irrigation is managed in a consistent, ecologically sustainable manner in northern Australia, to use a number of linked case studies and stakeholder input to support and inform development and testing of the framework and to contribute tools and knowledge to support considered debate, decision making and long term strategic planning for northern Australia and Australia as a whole. The fifth milestone report outlines achievements and progress against the objectives as at May 2006.

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