Farming and farming techniques that require water are increasingly becoming important as water resources become more limited.
The new study, led by University of NSW researcher Dr Andrew White, suggests farmers should consider the possibility of using water-saving technologies when buying their water.
The report’s findings are based on a review of the water use in Australian farming and agriculture, which is part of a new research program, Water Matters Australia, launched in April.
Dr White, who has been studying water and farming for more than two decades, said the report’s results suggested farmers should take advantage of the new water-use-and-water-efficiency (WUEW) technologies being developed by researchers around the world.
“The technology is coming along and it’s going to be very, very useful,” he said.
“There are a lot of people working on the technology and they’ve just been able to get to a stage where they’re going to make their own recommendations and make recommendations to the industry and get industry to make recommendations.”
Dr White said WUEW technology could be used to reduce water consumption and water-intensive production in order to reduce overall water use.
“What we’re trying to do is to use technology to change the way we think about water consumption,” he told News.
“Water is a big part of the environment and so to use a technology to reduce that would be very useful.”
Dr John Cockerham, from the National Farmers Union, said water conservation was a key issue in the Australian economy.
“We’re having to make do with less water than we used to because of the climate change and the water scarcity that we’re facing,” he explained.
“It’s a lot less than it was 40 years ago and we have to do something about that.”
Dr Cockerhans group is currently urging the Australian Government to allow water conservation for commercial and industrial purposes.
“That’s an area where there’s a huge potential,” he noted.
“This report says there’s probably some way to do that.
It’s a very encouraging report and it shows that we can do a lot to reduce our water use and reduce our reliance on it.”
The study, which Dr White said was not peer-reviewed, was published in the journal Water Resources Research.