NT water sustainability research to guide federal planning

By Melissa Coade

Wednesday October 20, 2021

The NT Farmers Association will lead a new trial to learn how local producers can bolster crop yields with less water, to reduce the pressure on aquifers.
The NT Farmers Association will lead a new trial to learn how local producers can bolster crop yields with less water, to reduce the pressure on aquifers. (sima/Adobe)

The NT Farmers Association will lead a new trial over three years to learn how local producers can bolster crop yields with less water, as part of a government initiative to reduce the pressure on aquifers. 

Northern Australia minister David Littleproud announced the water productivity trial on Wednesday, saying that $250,000 from the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) would support the water efficiency project. 

“Water is like gold to our grower and farming communities, which is why these projects are so important for a flourishing northern agriculture sector,” Littleproud said. 

The research project will investigate when and how much water crops require to produce the best possible yields, and equip producers with valuable information about irrigation.

The minister added that high-tech probes installed at several trial sites from Darwin to Katherine will collect data on water productivity to guide future government water planning and decision-making.

“The federal government is proudly investing $75 million in the CRCNA over 10 years, making new industry-led research collaborations like this – to support the north’s prosperity – possible,” Littleproud said. 

Senator Sam McMahon from the NT said that the trial was designed to support the reputation NT producers had worked hard for, and ‘elevate the Territory to new social and economic strengths’.

“Our growers and farmers continue to work tirelessly through drought, cyclones and now COVID19 to continue production, keeping fresh goods in supermarkets, exports flowing, and our economy strong,” McMahon said.

“This project is a great example of government, industry and grower communities working together to deliver results for the Top End and the nation.”


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