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Analysis and Comment (14)

Australia won’t be building anything as big as the Gordon Dam any time soon. JJ Harrison/Wikimedia Commons

Dam hard: water storage is a historic headache for Australia

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. Graeme Churchard/Flickr

Dams are not the smart way to secure water for agriculture

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. isthatdave/Wikimedia Commons

To grow agriculture in Australia, farmers need to think like miners

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…
Instead of developing a northern foodbowl to feed our neighbours, Australia could help them feed themselves. Neils Photography/Flickr

Australia should help East Timor feed itself

A nation that destroys its soils, destroys itself — Franklin Roosevelt It is a worthy objective to sell more food to Asia, but we should not conflate pursuing export income with improving regional food…
After centuries of war, Japan’s well-attuned environmental practices spurred rapid growth. mharrsch/Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

Lessons from Edo Japan can help Fukushima recover

After two and a half years, the embattled Japanese government and Tepco, the company responsible for the Fukushima nuclear power plant, have sought the world’s assistance in tackling the three damaged…
Grown on water saving soils… TXMagpie/Flickr

The good earth: Jasmine rice and Leeton Red Sodosol

Australia has some of the world’s most ancient soils, many of which grow delicious produce. In this series, “The good earth”, soil scientist Robert Edis profiles some of those soils and the flavours they…
Science suggests poor soils, water availability and harsh climatic conditions should dull visions for a northern Australia food bowl. Wakx/Flickr

The only way is up? The northern Australian food bowl fantasy

With the recently leaked discussion paper by the Coalition reigniting old passions for a northern irrigated food bowl, Australia must again contemplate its vision for the north. Is this our chance to learn…
With so many vested interests, opposition to the plan will likely last a long time yet. SA Eco Images Pty Ltd

Resisting the Murray-Darling Basin Plan – in whose interest?

As the final version of the Murray-Darling Plan heads to Parliament there seems little doubt that the debate will continue. The sticking point remains the volume of water to be returned to the environment…
Liquid politics: fights over water will heat up unless its management is democratised. Flickr/Kyle Horner

Challenge 2: Water; a local resource, a global problem

Welcome to the State of the Future series. This series addresses 15 global challenges posed by the Millennium Project, an international non-profit think-tank collecting responses for 40 nodes worldwide…

Research Briefs (3)

Coastal aquifers at risk

A study of 1,400 coastal aquifers in North America finds that most coastal aquifers are relatively unaffected by rising sea…