Driving a sustainable future for Australia’s irrigation regions

19 MAY 2022

Driving a sustainable future for Australia’s irrigation regions

Charles Sturt University is a key research partner in a collaboration to develop and commercialise opportunities for Australia’s irrigated agriculture and rural water industries.

  • Charles Sturt University is a key research partner in a $50 million Federal Government grant through the Commonwealth Cooperative Research Centres Program.
  • Together with $106.5 million from 85 partners, the newly announced One Basin Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) will support a partnership for a more productive, resilient and sustainable Murray-Darling Basin.

A collaborative partnership, the One Basin CRC, will develop and commercialise opportunities for Australia’s irrigated agriculture and rural water industries.

The One Basin CRC is led by the University of Melbourne and includes Charles Sturt University, the Australian National University, the Goyder Institute, Hort Innovation, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Sensand Technologies, and the University of Sydney,

One Basin CRC will create and assess new sustainable water and agricultural technologies and drive their adoption by water managers and farmers to increase agricultural production while ensuring environmental resilience and sustainability.

First Nations inclusion, recognition and respect is a core element of the One Basin CRC.

The initiative aims to secure the future of Australia’s irrigation regions through the successful development, commercialisation and adoption of new business models and technologies that will respond to challenging climate events and foster effective environmental stewardship.

Charles Sturt University’s One Basin CRC leadership team member, Associate Professor Andrew Hall, said that through its engaged and inclusive design process the One Basin CRC has already created a collaborative industry-led research environment.

“We are ready to hit the ground running with integrated research projects across water, environment and agriculture and are committed to co-designing projects to deliver the best possible socio-economic, First Nations and environmental outcomes,” Professor Hall said.


“It has been a privilege to be a member of the cross-institutional leadership team that has produced a truly collaborative research setting that will ensure a world-leading, productive, resilient, and sustainable future for the Murray-Darling Basin.”

University of Melbourne Professor Mike Stewardson is leading the One Basin CRC as interim CEO, while CEO of the Mallee Regional Innovation Centre, Ms Rebecca Wells is leading the CRC’s Mallee Regional Hub based in Mildura.

Professor Stewardson said the One Basin CRC is shaped by industry and will pave the way to transform irrigation regions across Australia and internationally.

By 2037, an estimated $4.3 billion of economic impact will be generated by innovation in water, agriculture and energy technology, enhanced forecasting and decision-making capacity, with a focus on sustainability and resilience in the face of climate change,” he said.

“Australia’s irrigation regions are the powerhouse of Australia’s agricultural sector producing 50 per cent of Australia’s agricultural profits, with the Murray-Darling Basin being the focus of two thirds of that irrigated agriculture.”

Over its ten-year term, One Basin CRC’s activities will be concentrated across four regional Basin hubs located at Loxton, Mildura, Griffith, and Goondiwindi, working directly with industry, businesses, First Nations, community, and government.

Regionally-based research and development will support innovation and adaptation by farmers and communities, resulting in more resilient farms and diversified income streams. Regions will benefit from job growth and socio-economic improvements.

Ms Wells said research in the regions enables meaningful collaboration and engagement with our partners.

“This ensures research is fit for purpose and directly relevant to the region – that will drive greater uptake and adoption, which is essential to achieve the innovation we require for growth in both productivity and sustainability,” Ms Wells said.

Dr Wendy Craik, AM, One Basin Chair-Elect said First Nations participation is an important part of the One Basin CRC.

“Involvement, recognition and respect of First Nations peoples is a core element of the One Basin CRC,” Dr Craik said.


“With First Nations board members, two full-time convenors, and participation through Regional Hubs and research projects, the One Basin CRC partnership will further support First Nations involvement in water management.

Media Note:

For more information or to arrange an interview with Professor Andrew Hall, contact Lisa Ditchfield at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0417 125 795 or news@csu.edu.au

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