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The Flinders and Gilbert Agricultural Resource Assessment (FGARA) evaluated the feasibility, economic viability and sustainability of agricultural development in these two catchments of North Queensland.
Thousands of hectares of soil are potentially suitable for irrigated agriculture across northern Australia but access to sufficient water constrains development.
In recognition of the challenges and opportunities facing northern communities and primary producers, the North Queensland Irrigated Agriculture Strategy (NQIAS) began in January 2012.
CSIRO led one component of the NQIAS, the Flinders and Gilbert Agricultural Resource Assessment (FGARA), with some components undertaken by the Queensland Government and TropWATER (James Cook University).
This two-year, A$6.8 million project, involving more than 100 scientists, provides a comprehensive and integrated evaluation of the feasibility, economic viability and sustainability of agricultural development in these two catchments of North Queensland. The Assessment sought to:
Through these means, it seeks to support deliberation and decisions concerning sustainable regional development.
The Assessment differs from previous assessments of agricultural development or resources in two main ways:
Importantly, the Assessment has been designed to build a knowledge base to inform future development decisions. It does not recommend one development over another.
The Assessment concludes that:
For both the Flinders and Gilbert catchments significant water use would, in the downstream environment, amplify the environmental and social challenges associated with dry years.
Reduced river discharges to the Gulf of Carpentaria would have impacts on commercial and recreational fishing catches that have not been quantified in this study.
Large-scale change of land and water use in the catchments is likely to require a wide range of regulatory, social and cultural responses, including consideration of native title implications.
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Last updated: Last updated: 23 October 2015
Printed from: FGARA Overview and findings (http://csiroaucd1-cdc.it.csiro.au/en/Research/LWF/Areas/Water-resources/Assessing-water-resources/Flinders-Gilbert/Overview)