Australian farmers, business leaders say water shortage puts jobs at risk
The drought in Australia’s Northern Territory is costing the Australian economy as much as $8 billion and placing hundreds of thousands of jobs at the mercy of a water shortage, the country’s top farmers, water companies and water agencies have warned.
Key points:The Northern Territory has declared a state of emergency and has announced an emergency water supply to cope with the droughtA drought has caused water restrictions across the region, including the entire region’s largest city of Darwin, the Northern Territory Premier has warnedThe drought has also forced many farmers to move to remote areas of the region from their traditional locations, such as northern NSW and Victoria, to get suppliesThe water supply crisis has also prompted many farmers in Northern Territory to relocate, as well as businesses to take water from nearby aquifers and move their operations to remote regions of the countryA report by the Australian Water Supply Association (AWSA) said the region’s main water company, Mackay Water, had been forced to suspend the operation of two of its two pumping stations due to the drought, with a third to be shut down in the coming days.
Water shortages in the Northern Territories have seen the supply of freshwater to the rest of the world cut off.
A number of Australian businesses and businesses have relocated to remote parts of the territory in the hope of finding a way to get water from aquifres and rivers.
The Northern Territories has declared itself a state, in order to be able to offer water to its people.
But with more than 1.3 million residents and the population of more than 7 million, it is not a natural resource state.
The NT Government said the state was experiencing severe drought conditions and that water restrictions were in place for a number of areas, including Darwin, Brisbane, Alice Springs and Nelson.
It said the Northern Rivers Authority (NRRA) had also put in place a 24-hour emergency supply and a water supply plan for the Northern River region, with more water coming from the Mackay and Murray Water Pipelines to be used as emergency water.
The NRRA said the emergency supply plan would be reviewed in coming weeks.
But the NT Government’s Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Scott Ryan, said the crisis had created a “severe water shortage” and the Government had been working with businesses and industry to help resolve the issue.
“The NT government has been providing water to the Northern Territorians, and the NT is an economic engine that generates a lot of jobs,” Mr Ryan said.
“We’ve been working very hard to get as much water to Northern Territory as we possibly can, and that’s been a difficult challenge, because of the water shortage.”
But we’re very much committed to helping the Northern people and our businesses get water as quickly as possible.
“The NT Premier, Peter Di Natale, said his government was working with the NRRA and the Northern Farmers Union to help farmers cope with shortages in water and that the Government was prepared to help businesses to move.”
It’s an ongoing issue and we’re going to be working very closely with the Northern Government to help our businesses to get a water system that works for the farmers,” Mr Di Natal said.
Northern Territory Premier Peter Di Natae told ABC News Breakfast that he had been in contact with the Governor-General and the Prime Minister about the crisis, and he had spoken to a number people, including a number farmers.
He said farmers were facing significant financial challenges as they were forced to move from their homes in remote areas to find water in remote locations, but he did not want to comment further on the crisis at this time.”
As we have been able to provide water, we’ve also had a significant number of people who are moving into the Northern Valley and we’ve had a considerable number of other businesses who have moved into the NT, so the water situation is going to continue to be an issue for us,” he said.
He urged the Northern Waters Alliance to help the Northern farmers to relocate.”
These are people that have worked in agriculture and are trying to stay in their jobs,” he told ABC Radio Darwin.”
I’ve been very clear that I have made it clear that the Northern Environment and Northern Farmers Alliance are working with all the stakeholders to try to get to the bottom of what’s going on, and how we can make it work.
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