Yesterday’s national water summit was told that the current drought gripping Australia could be the worst in 1 000 years. More than half of Australia's farmland is experiencing drought, the Murray-Darling river system is already 54 per cent below the previous record minimum, and the Federal Government is forecasting the lowest wheat crop for 12 years.
Leading inland higher education provider Charles Sturt University (CSU) has specialist researchers available for comment on drought issues such as agricultural production and water use, access to services and impacts on families, regional businesses and communities. They include:
- Regional economist Tom Murphy from the Western Research Institute, with recent research published on the effects of drought on regional businesses;
- Rural social researcher Professor Margaret Alston from the Institute for Land Water and Society (ILWS), who has completed extensive research into the social impacts of drought on rural people, rural communities and education access;
- International pasture researcher Professor David Kemp with CSU's School of Rural Management on the management of grazing systems for livestock and native grasslands during droughts;
- Rural social researcher Dr Judith Crockett with ILWS, who have completed extensive research into the effects of drought on mental health in rural areas;
- Water use expert and hydrologist Professor Shahbaz Khan with ILWS and CSIRO, on the effects of drought on water availability, smart water use and learning from international experience;
- Leading wine expert and National Wine and Grape Industry Centre director Professor Geoff Scollary on the effects of drought on grape and wine production;
- Land management expert and ILWS director Professor Allan Curtis, on the effects of drought on land management in private agricultural holdings, national parks and other land types;
- Landscape ecologist and experienced science commentator Professor Nick Klomp with ILWS, on the effects of drought on Australia’s native plants and animals and the Australian bush environment;
- Climate change authority Professor Kevin Parton with ILWS, on the value of seasonal weather forecasting.
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