Forum - Living and Farming with Less Water

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Thursday 22nd July, 2010

The use of water resources in Australia is continually being debated as to the appropriate allocations of water for irrigation, other agricultural uses, industry, urban development and the environmental sustainability of our river systems. This has been further exacerbated by the current below average rainfall for the past 13 years in eastern Australia, which has seen most capital cities investing in desalination water plants to supplement their urban water supplies, and the Australian rice growing and milling industry crippled for several years.

The debate on the use of water in agriculture looks at the use of water to grow different crops, or fodder for livestock production, and ultimately Australia’s food production. This can be expressed as a water footprint such as 15,500 litres of water to produce a kg of beef or 3,400 litres to produce a kg of rice, or the water required to put a serve of beef or rice on the home table can be determined, just to add more discussion to the debate.




Dr Glen Walker

Dr Glen Walker researches groundwater hydrology, salinity and the use of isotopes for unsaturated zone hydrology to gain a better understanding of groundwater flow systems and
water quality. He is based at CSIRO Land and Water at the Waite Campus, South Australia.

Glen leads the Regional Water theme of the Water for a Healthy Country Flagship. He heads a team of scientists who aim to achieve significantly greater benefits through better management of Australia’s river basins and groundwater resources. This will be achieved through better tools to improve: resource assessment, taking into account climate change and changed land use; identification of opportunities to modernise current irrigation systems to save water; planning of future irrigation development, especially in northern Australia; water sharing planning processes; assessment of water policy.

Glen is also a member of eWater River Managers Users Reference Group.

Glen joined CSIRO in 1984 as a research scientist after a three year Postdoctoral fellowship overseas. He is the author of 57 scientific papers, 67 conference papers and 95 technical reports. A recipient of the University Medal in 1980 he received the WE Wood for Excellence in Salinity Research, National Dryland Salinity Program. Glen was a member of a team that won the 2008 CSIRO Chairman’s Medal for the Murray-Darling Basin Sustainable Yields project.

Christine Campbell

Christine Campbell is the Executive Chair of the Twynam Agricultural Group. The company was established in Australia by John Dieter Kahlbetzer in the early 1970s, and has grown to become a world leader in sustainable agriculture both here and internationally, with the company also establishing agricultural interests in Argentina.

The Twynam Agricultural Group operates an aggregation of farming properties across New South Wales, located on the Murrumbidgee, Lachlan, Macquarie and Gwydir River systems. These farms have a total land area of approximately 285,000 hectares. The Twynam Group’s rural enterprises include cattle and sheep farming - incorporating range and grainfed animals - dryland and irrigated cropping, and, more recently, horticulture. It is a primary producer of beef, wool, cereals, rice and cotton.

Christine has over 30 years experience in both financial and corporate management across the Australian agricultural, resource, manufacturing and investment industries. She began her career with the Twynam Agricultural Group as its Financial Controller in the late 1970s.

In addition to her role with Twynam, Christine has played an active role as a member of a number of the Australian agricultural industries’ boards and panels. Between 1999 and 2005, Christine was a Director of Cotton Australia Limited, and held the position of Chair of the Australian Cotton Industry Council from 2002 to 2005. During that time, Christine was also Chair of the International Cotton Advisory Committee’s Private Sector Advisory Panel.

Christine has also been a member of the Executive Committee of the National Farmers’ Federation, a Member of the Policy Council of the National Farmers’ Federation, and Chair of the National Farmers’ Federation Water Taskforce between 2005 and 2006.
Since 2005, Christine has served on the Board of Directors of the Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity. The Board, which was established in 2005, is the central coordinating body for plant biosecurity research across Australia. Christine has been a member of Certified Practising Accountants Australia (CPA Australia) since 1969, and a Fellow since 1990. She is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Graduate Member since 2007.

Kelvin Baxter

Kelvin Baxter is a Member Director on the Board of Murray Irrigation Limited. He is an irrigation farmer and lives at Berrigan, 90ks east of Deniliquin within the Murray Irrigation area of operation.
Kel was heavily involved in the lobbying process leading up to the formation of Murray Irrigation Limited as an unlisted public company in 1995. He was the inaugural Chairman of the Board and has served on the Board since.

He was also the inaugural Chairman of the Murray Catchment Management Authority, and has recently served on the Murray-Darling Basin Community Advisory Committee and the National Water Commission, Water Accounting Development Committee.

He operates family farming businesses in both the Murray and Murrumbidgee Valleys with wife Marilyn and two sons Glen and Noel. In addition, he owns a bulk transport company that operates throughout the farming areas of south eastern Australia. So while he is a farmer, Kel also has a firsthand knowledge of how the current economic and limatic circumstances impact on small business in the rural areas.

Finally, Kel has been one of those responsible for getting the Water 4 Food Australia campaign launched by the Riverina and Murray Regional Organisation of Councils recently, which is all about protecting water allocations for the production of food in the catchments.

Ian MacKinnon

Ian MacKinnon is a grain and livestock producer in the midlands of Tasmania.
Former Chairman of Grains Research & Development Corporation Southern Panel, he has 40 years experience in agro politics and Research and Development, with an emphasis on Research and Development. Since retiring from GRDC in 2006 he has expanded the family business from 2857 hectares to 8,571 hectares. At the same time he has developed a centre pivot irrigation system comprising of 690 hectares of irrigation and which is expanded annually.

Downloadable Content

  Listen to Christine Campbell's Presentation Listen to Christine Campbell's Presentation  (6419 KB)

  Listen to Glen Walker's Presentation Listen to Glen Walker's Presentation  (4623 KB)

  Listen to Ian MacKinnon's Presentation Listen to Ian MacKinnon's Presentation  (4204 KB)

  Listen to Kelvin Baxter's Presentation Listen to Kelvin Baxter's Presentation  (6862 KB)

  Read the flyer - Living and Farming with Less Water Read the flyer - Living and Farming with Less Water  (364 KB)

  View Christine Campbell's Presentation View Christine Campbell's Presentation  (351 KB)

  View Glen Walker's Presentation View Glen Walker's Presentation  (2851 KB)

  View Ian MacKinnon's Presentation View Ian MacKinnon's Presentation  (1326 KB)

  View Kelvin Baxter's Presentation View Kelvin Baxter's Presentation  (2871 KB)


Marcus Oldham College, 145 Pigdons Rd Waurn Ponds, Geelong