Water in the Top End: Scenarios for the future 


The northern landscape has been on the brink of transformation for more than a century, according to a prominent Charles Darwin University environmental scientist.

Director of CDU’s School for Environmental Research, Professor Stephen Garnett said he believed that every generation has brought new promise of a major step-up in development, of a society brimming with economic energy and enterprise.

“Once again, the call is out to move the farmers north to turn the Australian tropics into a land of silk and money,” he said.

Professor Garnett and the Department of Primary Industry, Fisheries and Mines’ Director of Crops, Forestry and Horticulture, Matt Darcey, will explore the drivers of this latest wave of developmental enthusiasm, the decisions that need to be made, and the thresholds that should be considered as part of the upcoming Charles Darwin Symposium on the topic of water in the Top End.

Professor Garnett said he and Mr Darcey would take a holistic view of the potential opportunities, limitations and trade-offs of the north’s water resources.

“We will compare the rhetoric with the nature of investment into research and development,” Professor Garnett said.

“We will not make predictions but will paint possible futures for the Top End, its society, its environment and its water.”

The Symposium, titled Water in the Top End: Opportunities and Constraints, is designed to generate discussion and debate about the perceived opportunities for and constraints on water use, and whether Top End residents should continue to think of the Northern Territory as a frontier with boundless possibilities.

The Symposium is free to the public and will run from 8.30am to 5pm on Friday, 30 May at CDU’s Casuarina campus.

For more information go to www.cdu.edu.au/cdss.