Chapter 8: Irrigation
By Mac Kirby
Irrigated agriculture is productive and profitable, generating 50 per cent of all agricultural profit from just 0.5 per cent of agricultural land.
Australia exports 60 per cent of its agricultural produce and demand should grow with increased standards of living and growing global populations.
Two-thirds of irrigation in Australia occurs in the Murray–darling Basin where it faces major challenges from climate change, return of water to the environment, and an increasingly open water market.
New irrigation development is occurring in Tasmania and there are prospects for new developments in northern Australia, and along the east coast.
Increasing demand for irrigated agriculture and declining water availability will drive increases in the efficiency of irrigated agriculture.
Efficiency can be improved through more water-efficient crop varieties, improved farm management, precision applications of water, and more efficient irrigation supply canals, and river management.
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