AUSTRALIA’S most precious resource has been at the center of a political controversy for years.
Now, it seems, the country’s rice farmers are being forced to do what they can to keep the precious commodity in their homes.
A study released last week by Australian Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research found that the rice industry’s demand for water has been on the rise.
The research was commissioned by the Commonwealth of Australia, which is also the world leader in rice farming.
But the study, which was released under the auspices of the Climate Change Authority, found that in the past year, demand for freshwater increased by 2.3 per cent, and the water use per hectare increased by 13.7 per cent.
“This study shows that the global rice industry is not only experiencing significant increases in water use, but also water scarcity and drought conditions, as well as a corresponding increase in the water availability of the country,” the report said.
“We see an unprecedented and dramatic increase in water availability, and a significant increase in demand for fresh water.”
The study’s authors said the increase in rainfall and drought was largely driven by climate change, with rainfall being up 2.7 to 3.2 per cent over the past 10 years.
“As a result, the average annual rainfall has decreased by about 5.7mm over the last decade, which has increased the need for water by about 15.7 million litres a year,” the study said.
The report also highlighted the impact of climate change on the rice growing industry.
“In the past decade, global rice farmers have experienced more severe droughts and rising temperatures, which have contributed to an increase in grain yield,” the authors said.
The report said the industry had been able to adapt to drought conditions by building irrigation systems, using more groundwater to irrigate crops and adding more groundwater-dense soils.”
While the impacts of climate events are expected to continue to be a significant driver of changes to the rice farming industry, the future of Australia’s rice farming depends on how it can adapt to this situation.”
The report said the industry had been able to adapt to drought conditions by building irrigation systems, using more groundwater to irrigate crops and adding more groundwater-dense soils.
However, it warned that climate change was already having an impact on water use in the rice sector.
“Australia’s rice industry has been impacted by a combination of factors including increasing global demand for rice, increasing global temperature, increased evapotranspiration of rainwater, and changes in rainfall patterns,” the research said.
But it said that the rise in demand from consumers in the United States and the United Kingdom, and from other countries, was also contributing to an overall increase in rice consumption.
“There is a clear trend towards greater use of imported rice and a further increase in imported rice imports over the next few decades,” the researchers said.
Australian rice farmers say their rice is now at a critical pointThe Australian Rice Growers Association (ARGA) said in a statement it was “deeply disappointed” by the research.
“It is a matter of grave concern to us that our industry has not yet seen a decrease in demand or water demand, despite the increased use of water in the world,” it said.
In a statement, ARGA said it had been inundated with complaints from rice farmers across Australia about rising water demand.
“Rice growers across the country have received complaints from customers that their rice has not been getting water,” the association said.
It said there was “very little information on the impacts that the changes to water availability have on the water management process”.
“These issues are not confined to the Australian rice industry, as water shortages in China and India are impacting other industries.”
The ARGA also said that it was concerned about the effect the rising water use was having on the environment.
“At this point, the water supply of Australia is already under severe stress, with water availability already increasing in the South East Asia region,” the statement said.