6 dams planned in northern Australia blueprint

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-30 09:08:42|Editor: Liu
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CANBERRA, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Australia's peak scientific body has revealed a plan for six dams in the nation's north, transforming the region into the "next great food bowl."

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) blueprint, released on Thursday, identified the potential to create 370,000 hectares of agricultural land, creating 15,000 jobs and boosting the economy by 5.3 billion Australian dollars (3.8 billion U.S. dollars) each year.

Under the plan, two new dams would be built in the Northern Territory (NT) near Darwin, boosting the city's economy by 2.6 billion Australian dollars (1.9 billion U.S. dollars), and four in Queensland near Cairns.

The study was the result of 2.5 years of work by more than 100 CSIRO scientists who conducted a comprehensive analysis of water and soil in northern Australia.

Matt Canavan, minister for Northern Australia, said the report supported the construction of the "next great food bowl in our nation."

"It would deliver enough water in most years to fill Sydney Harbour more than two times," he told News Corp Australia on Thursday.

"This information should lead every government to hasten ­towards this opportunity. We have growing demand for food in Asia, abundant soils and water, and it's time for our country to once again take on a large agricultural nation-building initiative."

According to the CSIRO, the construction of all four Queensland dams would cost 2.8 billion Australian dollars (2.04 billion U.S. dollars).

When finished, those four projects would deliver 2,800 gigaliters of water annually.

Australia's Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the agriculture-centric Nationals Party, Michael McCormack, said the proposal had his full support.

"The Coalition stands ready to develop this with anybody who wants to come forward and work with us," he said.

"We want to make sure that it gets carried forward. We'll be campaigning on it for sure."