The Northern Territory Horticultural Association is shocked by news that Indigenous groups are seeking to claim water rights.
Aboriginal groups from across the north of Australia are calling for the legal ownership of water in rivers, lakes and aquifers.
If the rights are granted to traditional owners, developers would need to get permission and pay royalties.
The NT Horticultural Association president, Jan Hintze said its too early to predict any outcomes … but hopes there’ll be extensive consultation.
“I’m absolutely amazed,” Ms Hintze said.
“I had not heard of any suggestion such a claim was going to be made.
“The implications of it all are very vast.
“I mean how many years it took to sort out Aboriginal land rights.
“I don’t know how many years it would take to sort out water rights over such an extensive area.”
She said it was unclear how a claim might affect the industry.
“Well almost any growing crop that is produced during the dry season needs quite a bit of water everyday, and here of course it doesn’t rain,” Ms Hintze said.
“Most of the water that we use comes from underground aquifers.
“The water resources people are operating very carefully to make sure that we don’t overdraw the water that is available.”