Australia Worried About Foreigners Buying Its Water
The muddy river that flows through this farming town feeds both verdant citrus groves and a growing unease among some lawmakers and regulators over foreign ownership of water rights, nasdaq.com reports.
Australia - the world's driest inhabited continent - plans to require foreign investors to declare their interests in water rights like to this river used by farmers in three southeast states. The proposed register, which for the first time would create a public record of the level of foreign ownership, comes at a time when the country is seeing a wave of deal-making in agriculture. Public submissions close Friday.
Demand for water is rising ahead of government plans to turn the empty expanses of northern Australia into a food bowl for the rising middle classes of China and India. Water is already a scarce commodity, but climate change is expected to make droughts even more frequent.