News ID: 279841
Published: 1123 GMT January 24, 2021

Climate data to aid drought resilience in Australia

Climate data to aid drought resilience in Australia

Farmers in Australia will be given access to specialized climate data to help build their drought resilience under a new federal government initiative.

The $10 million Climate Services for Agriculture Program will provide detailed regional information about future drought and climate risks, assisting farmers to prepare for potential impacts depending on their particular needs, Australian Associated Press reported.

It is being funded from the $5 billion Future Drought Fund and is expected to be operating by June.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the program will complement seasonal forecasts and climate guides produced by the Bureau of Meteorology.

"The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) will engage the agricultural sector to determine the type of climate information that is most useful to their businesses and test in four pilot regions to ensure the decision support tools meet their needs," he said in a statement.

"The pilot regions will be identified in early 2021 and will include a range of climatic regions and agricultural sectors.

"The end result will deliver regional scale climate projections across Australia, along with actionable advice to help farm businesses to make decisions such as the commodities they produce and the information will be delivered through a user-friendly interactive digital platform."

Drought continues to bite across parts of Queensland and NSW despite significant rain breaking the dry spell in the southern Murray-Darling Basin.

Latest figures show water storages across the entire river system sit at 54 percent.

Dams in the northern basin are at 27 percent, showing the rainfall gap for farmers and other water users to the south.

All parts of Queensland in the basin remain officially in drought while northern and far-western NSW are awaiting significant rainfall to replenish river systems.

"The Australian government continues to support farmers and regional businesses through the tough times and we are proud that we have committed more than $10 billion in drought support measures," Littleproud said.

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