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Australian Hopes Of Making Northern Tier Of Country New Breadbasket Dashed By Hydrology, Climate

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 12:13 PM
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Australian Hopes Of Making Northern Tier Of Country New Breadbasket Dashed By Hydrology, Climate
SYDNEY (Reuters) - The dream of turning Australia's tropical north into a major food bowl to replace drought-stricken southern farmlands and feed a future Asia has been shattered by a new report released on Monday.

Despite a billion of liters of annual rain, the equivalent of 2,000 Sydney Harbours, northern Australia has limited water, with 65 percent of rain lost through evaporation and 20 percent in rivers, while only 15 percent recharges groundwater reserves. And climate change will make northern Australia hotter and drier by 2030, reducing water availability, said the report by the Northern Australian Land and Water Taskforce.

Northern Australia's resources boom, with miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton fuelling China's growth, is forecast to continue to grow significantly. However, water scarcity in the north will be a major issue for future mining, along with access to skilled labor, said the report on sustainable development in northern Australia. "Given the significant growth anticipated in this industry, it will be important to monitor the impact of the mining and resources industry on the water balance in northern Australia," the government-commissioned report said.

Farmers and rural politicians have for decades called for the "Top End" of Australia to be developed into a food bowl, citing the success of the nation's largest irrigation scheme, the Ord River Irrigation Scheme in the far northwest. The Ord scheme produces fresh fruit and vegetables, mainly for export to Asia. "It will not be the food bowl for the world," said Western Australian state politician Gary Gray after the reports release.

EDIT

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6170KD20100208?fe...
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 12:15 PM
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1. So they need to catch that rainwater.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 12:43 PM
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2. It's worth a shot
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. My sister had cans and jars all over her San Diego backyard
During the recent rain. She wasn't really prepared but she hated seeing a drop go to waste. Seems to me that a very big engineering project is in order.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 01:17 PM
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4. Some sort of cistern and aqueduct system?
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Which wouldn't kill us, either.
We waste tons of water in America, while water is a huge issue all over this continent.

Great civilizations figured out how to supply water to their people. We've been relying on nature and glaciers.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:24 PM
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6. Tropical soil tends to be nutrient poor
n/t
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