Arable and D₃Ag are proud to launch a partnership that supports Australian growers and land stewards in using data to navigate the agricultural challenges unique to the region, and together forge a better way to manage water resources on the continent. The teams have been working together for several years to build a solution that brings tangible value to water- and resource-strapped communities who feed a growing population under an increasingly difficult set of circumstances.
Known for their resourcefulness, innovation, and evidence-based approach to improving productivity and resource use efficiency, Australian farmers are a foundational pillar of the country’s economy. Their embrace of scientific developments in higher yielding, drought- and disease-tolerant crop varieties helps to make an island of 25 million people more self-reliant and less dependent on foreign imports to meet its own needs.
Yet more than 40 years of persistent drought in Southeastern Australia, exacerbated by the recent uptick in seasonal wildfires that tear through the landscape and encircle the globe
with particulate matter for months afterward, have added considerable pressure to Australian farmers to manage water efficiently while still meeting national and global demand for sustainably grown products. Climatic model simulations project that high-value Australian growing regions demonstrate a potential decline in water supply by nearly 20% over the next 70 years, and up to 32% decline at extreme times during the year. Meanwhile, the Australian population is expected to almost double by 2056, primarily in urban centers where 90% of the population currently lives, disconnected from the Australian agricultural landscape and the commodities it provides.
This convergence of tensions — replicated in other climate-sensitive regions of the world, but in hyper focus in Australia — demands out-of-the-box solutions to national resource management. One such solution, the Murray Darling Basin (MDB) water market system, is arguably the most sophisticated water market in the world. Initiated in 2012, the water market system intended to more fully recognize the value of water resources within the MDB while allowing farmers greater flexibility to deal with shifting climate scenarios in the future. It is one of the only water markets not tied to landholder rights — meaning that anyone can speculate on the value of the water in the system, including foreign investors.