"Australia’s tropical northern rivers still run wild and free. These relatively
pristine areas have so far avoided extensive development. But this might not
last. There are ongoing scoping studies exploring irrigating agricultural land
using water from these rivers.
Our new research in the journal Nature Sustainability
shows disturbing the
delicate water balance upstream can have major consequences downstream, even
hundreds of kilometres away.
Using our latest computer modelling, we found northern water resource
development would have substantial effects on prawn, mud crab and barramundi
fisheries in the Gulf of Carpentaria. These are valuable Australian marine
fisheries which depend on healthy estuaries. Reducing river flows would also
disturb mangrove and seagrass habitats and threaten the iconic endangered
Freshwater flows to the sea play a crucial role, boosting the productivity of
marine, estuarine and freshwater systems. These complex interactions must be
carefully considered in the assessment of future development plans."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics