The Northern Territory is known around the world for its iconic natural treasures, including our free-flowing rivers. Rivers like the Adelaide, Daly, Roper, and Katherine underpin our livelihoods, culture, and lifestyle.
But right now, industry documents outline plans to take up to 520 billion litres of water for large-scale agriculture driven by cotton in the Daly region alone. That’s more water than the entire of Sydney Harbour, or more than 200,000 olympic sized swimming pools.
Taking this much water from our river systems could be devastating, and risk a repeat of the mistakes already witnessed in the Murray-Darling Basin. And all because the cotton industry wants to take significantly more water to fuel their rapid expansion.
Territorians know that our rivers stretch far beyond the bank – the floodplains and tributaries that feed into major rivers are just as much a part of the river itself, and vital to their health. Top End river systems rely on big wet season rains and floods to sustain them throughout the year. This floodplain runoff supports an incredible diversity of unique plants, fish, birds, and other wildlife.
Very soon, the NT Government will be making a decision on a proposed ‘surface water harvesting’ policy. Healthy rivers depend on healthy floodplains. We can’t risk allowing big business to suck out more water before it even reaches the riverbank.
The Northern Territory Government isn’t doing enough to protect our rivers. If they allow for floodplain harvesting it will lead to a rush of new dams on creeks and more water being taken from our rivers.
It’s vital we get this right from the start. That means strengthened protections for our rivers and floodplains, no extra water to be taken from these systems beyond current levels, and a guarantee to Territorians that our floodplains will remain healthy for our future.
Send a message to:
- Hon. Michael Gunner – NT Chief Minister
- Hon. Nicole Manison – NT Deputy Chief Minister
- Hon. Eva Lawler – NT Environment Minister