Under the proposal, irrigators would have to submit a statement that tallies with aerial images of their water use.
AAP Image/Cubbie Group
Allegations of water theft have thrown the Murray-Darling Basin Plan into crisis. The solution could involve users declaring their annual water use, subject to random audits - like a tax return.
Irrigation pumps along the Barwon River in New South Wales.
AAP Image/Dean Lewins
The system that allocates water use in Australia's largest river basin relies on a shared commitment by states to uphold the rules. New allegations of water theft threaten to break that trust.
Children walk through a maize plantation in Zimbabwe, one of the countries in which irrigated areas might be double the officially-recognised area.
Official statistics in Tanzania do not capture small-scale irrigation, meaning that it's impact is unclear. Yet new research reveals that it's two to three times greater than previously thought
Water and agriculture is high on the agenda at this year’s climate talks.
The current climate talks in Morocco are a golden opportunity for making strides on the adaptation of African agriculture. African countries need the tools necessary to do so.
The Millennium drought had a huge impact on the Murray-Darling river system.
Droughts are much bigger and slower than other natural disasters that hit Australia - meaning that despite their huge impacts, we still haven't figured out how best to protect ourselves.
The Ord River was targeted for agricultural expansion in the 20th century.
Ever since British settlement, water rights in Australia's north have favoured landowners over traditional owners, effectively locking Aboriginal people out of agricultural development.
Blue-green algae in the Murray River upstream of Mildura in April.
Toxic algal blooms were unheard of in Australia's major waterways before 1991. Now the Murray River has been struck by four major events in less than a decade, with more likely in the future.
Barkindji protest outside Parliament in Canberra.
For the Barkindji people, the Darling River has been a symbol of Aboriginal survival since colonial times. Now, the once busy NSW town of Wilcannia is in danger of losing its water.
Northern rivers could increase Australia’s irrigated land by 50%. But we need to think about the environmental impacts.
It's full steam ahead for bringing vast increases in farming to northern Australia. In fact, probably too fast to adequately consider the environmental impacts.
Maize is a staple food in South Africa. Its production is likely to decline by half this year due to drought. The poor will be the hardest hit.
South Africa has been hit by a severe drought and will not be able to produce enough maize - its staple food - in 2016. This will prompt a rise in imports and therefore food prices.
Open-air irrigation: so last century.
A government for the 21st century needs to work out how we can grow our food, manufacture goods and dispose of waste without making such a huge mess.
The Murray-Darling: a complex river system with a complex set of regulations to match.
AAP Image/Caroline Duncan Photography
Water isn't straightforward. And by putting the Nationals in charge of policy for water assets like the Murray-Darling Basin, the government will trigger a complex round of bureaucratic musical chairs.
The white paper on developing northern Australia outlines a solid vision - now for action.
The White Paper on Developing Northern Australia represents the most comprehensive attempt yet to think through the development possibilities of the north.
Water makes all the difference for agricultural crops.
US Geological Survey
The majority of water that people use goes to agriculture. In a drier, hungrier future, we'll need to use what water we have with less waste. Technologies being developed now will help.
Food security is threatened when irrigation systems get worn out by biofouling as a result of smart dirt.
Smart dirt is made up of those germs clinging to the surfaces around us that have become resistant to the chemicals normally used to get rid of them.
Water from coal seam gas mining would be treated at a reverse osmosis plant before being re-injected into the ground.
The Queensland government wants companies to use waste water from coal seam gas extraction for useful purposes such as recharging aquifers. New CSIRO research shows that, with careful monitoring, it can be done.
Australia won’t be building anything as big as the Gordon Dam any time soon.
JJ Harrison/Wikimedia Commons
The agricultural green paper released last week proposes 27 new water and irrigation projects, which the government claims will be necessary for Australia’s agricultural expansion. The emphasis is firmly…
The Ord River dam, completed in 1971, formed Australia’s largest artificial lake in the far north west.
Some 27 irrigation and dam projects are highlighted in the green paper for agricultural competitiveness released this week by agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce. Six of the projects – five in Tasmania…
Right idea, wrong execution: the Ord River irrigation scheme needed better surrounding infrastructure.
It’s perhaps fitting that mining magnate Andrew Forrest is in the vanguard of a move to position Australia as a major food supplier to China. Fitting, because if the plan is to work, Australian agriculture…
Unless you’re a schistosomiasis parasite.
We are used to the idea that modern technological inventions can have unforeseen consequences on health. Infamous examples include the anti-nausea drug thalidomide, which caused limb defects in unborn…