Business opportunities relating to salinity arise from the following areas:
- Making productive use of saline affected land and water including growing, using and selling plants adapted to high levels of salt, salt harvesting, saline aquaculture and saline agroforestry.
- Modifying land use activities that have an impact on salinity such as the development of new farming systems and developing technologies for water efficient urban, industrial and agricultural uses and for treating saline water discharged from industrial processes.
- Protecting high value infrastructure through solutions like groundwater pumping systems.
- Development and application of new technology and materials to withstand salinity such as saline-resistant cooling systems and building materials such as bricks, cement and reinforcing
Potential business opportunities could arise in fields such as agriculture, farm forestry, aquaculture, salt harvesting and building design. The scope and nature of the business opportunities are still evolving.
The threat of salinity is also challenging governments to develop better public policy. The NSW Government is committed to establishing market-based solutions and more strategic investment of public money. Establishment of markets for environmental services is a long way off but they will create a commercial value for land and water management practices that help control salinity and other land management problems.
NSW Salinity Business Development Program
As part of the NSW Government's Salinity Strategy, the Salinity Business Development Program has been introduced to encourage commercial enterprises to develop opportunities arising from the problem of salinity and the potential for productive uses of salinity-affected land, water and extracted salts. The program provides information to help firms develop business solutions and innovations for salinity and provides access to a salinity business network.
Options for Productive Use of Salinity
Options for the Productive Use of Salinity (OPUS) is a project funded by the National Dryland Salinity Program (NDSP). The project aims to identify and assess a range of potentially productive industries able to use saline land or saline water (in particular, saline groundwater).
Across Australia, it is possible to find many examples of individuals and organisations using saline land and water, thereby minimising the environmental degradation caused by dryland salinity and making a profit at the same time.
The OPUS database, which is located on the NDSP website, brings many of these examples together in the form of a 'case study' database. Various case studies of innovative saline industries have been included on the database. The projects stem from scientific research projects, landholder initiatives, cooperatives, government-funded programs and agribusiness ventures.
Productive Use and Rehabilitation of Saline Land (PUR$L)
Many people have grown accustomed to hearing "doom and gloom" stories about the impacts of salinity on farmers and communities. However, there is another perspective. For more than a decade, the PUR$L group (including representatives from all Australian States) has articulated a different vision: saltland is also potentially useful for profitable industries in agriculture, forestry, horticulture, aquaculture, minerals and energy. More than 400 papers have been delivered at PUR$L workshops since 1987. The proceedings of the PUR$L workshops are available on-line at the NDSP website (http://www.lwa.gov.au/ndsp/pur$l.asp).
Page last updated: 26 February 2011