Climate change and land use changes are causing deep uncertainties in agricultural systems, and these are challenging the management of these systems, especially those using irrigation. A particular challenge in some regions is new dynamics in water tables that change risks from salinity. In the Shepparton Irrigation Region (SIR), which is the case my research centres on, salinity management infrastructure was put in place assuming a stable climate. Now, however, a long period of low rainfall has led local awareness of these risks to diminish, and the value and management of the groundwater pumps and drains put in place to remove saline groundwater to be questioned. New approaches are needed. In addition, managing saline groundwater through discharges to receiving waters raises the question of the receiving water’s ecological ‘health’. Also, shifts in agricultural practices are affecting the availability of water thus challenging the management of irrigation systems.
In this seminar, I will outline my proposed research project examining ways in which the irrigation system in the SIR could approach climate change adaptively, and what lessons we could draw from this for irrigation agriculture generally. Using an adaptive pathway analysis approach, an action research project will be carried out at SIR together with local stakeholders to evaluate adaptation pathways for irrigated agriculture, given the risks posed by climate change and by related and unrelated changes in land use.
When: Thursday 5th May | 12–1pm
Where: Building W6A, room 107 Macquarie University
Dauglas is a first year PhD student in the Department of Geography at Macquarie University. His previous research looked at the impacts of climate change and population growth on the water supply and management system of Nairobi city, Kenya. He is passionate about water resource management and endeavours to explore and practice sustainable water management/governance in the Anthropocene, within the context of climate change.