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Compared to other areas within Australia the soils and water resources in the Northern Territory have not been subject to the same development pressures.

The development of northern Australian industries is the focus of national interest. Of increasing nationwide interest are: the productivity of our pastoral sector, expansion of irrigated agriculture ventures, and the development of new aquaculture ventures and mining, oil and petroleum industries.


Within ten years, all regions in the Northern Territory have increased knowledge that is being applied to both water resource planning and allocation, and soil management practices.

The NT already has the highest per capita consumption of water of any of the other states and territories in Australia. The proposed expansion of industries will place unprecedented pressure on both the water and soil resources in the NT.

Sustainable water resource management and allocation needs to address the diverse and complex cultural, ecological and social values associated with water resources in collaboration with multiple stakeholders within the NT. Climate change is also increasingly impacting water and soil resources and an adaptive management approach needs to be adopted. We must also continue to increase our knowledge and understanding of groundwater and the impacts of various uses on water resource dependent ecosystems and associated productivity. We need to continue to develop an equitable process for using water based on need and availability.


Main priorities in the Northern Territory:

  • Collate soil information and create communications products on soil conservation that target contractors and provide increased training and extension services regarding sustainable soil management to primary producers throughout the NT

  • Consult widely with multiple stakeholders regarding water resource planning and management and ensure these are underpinned by the best available scientific information

  • Provide resources and policies to increase our understanding about the impacts of mining, pastoral and domestic use of water on ecosystems and groundwater

  • Identify areas with potential for agricultural development through assessments of soil and water resources


  • Ongoing surveys of contractors and land managers about their awareness and adoption of soil management practices will determine changes in understanding and behaviours

  • Assessing the number of people/groups involved in water stewardship will provide more information regarding the adoption of these practices which can be used to encourage more widespread adoption of stewardship practices throughout the NT

  • Determine progress by quantifying the number of water resources and allocation plans developed and number of people/groups involved in developing the plans to determine progress


There is a different emphasis relevant to its people, environments and industries for the four major regions in the Northern Territory.


Click on your region to see your regional soil and water management plan:


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