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CSIRO mission to boost nation's drought readiness by 2030

Australia’s national science agency CSIRO’s Drought Resilience Mission is working to reduce the impacts of drought in Australia by 30% by 2030.

With the aim of helping regional communities and industries to thrive in the face of a changing climate, the mission stands to mediate the effects of drought by helping communities and industries endure more severe droughts and recover from them sooner. 

The agency is linking its Agriculture and Food, Land and Water, Oceans and Atmosphere, and Data61 business units with external resources in order to develop cross-industry solutions ready for community and industry uptake.

Taking a three-level focus, the mission’s main work packages include on-farm innovation, regional development and resilience, as well as enabling policy and outreach.  

The focus of the on-farm innovation package is to help develop partnerships across the agricultural innovation system and deploy technologies, tools, and practices that help decision making based on climate data, as well as new systems to improve water-use efficiency.  

Partnerships for resilience

The regional development and resilience package is developing partnerships with regional communities to co-design and implement technologies and policies for resilience during and in recovery from drought. 

The policy enablement package is about developing systems that underpin policy response, while partnering with governments to provide analysis and insights, with the aim of enhancing economic, environmental, and social resilience during drought cycles. 

Thus far, the mission has already developed tools to help identify the risks of soil loss due to wind erosion, completed a water banking opportunity assessment in the Murray–Darling Basin, developed a national drought map, and initiated the Climate Services for Agriculture program.

The agency will also be completing a review of the economic, social, environmental consequences of drought to deepen understanding of costs, establish baselines and discover where methodologies need to be developed to guide future research and policy.

CSIRO is working with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and the  Bureau of Meteorology.