South Australian Arid Lands

nullThe South Australian Arid Lands (SAAL) Region covers more than 50% of South Australia and along with the Alinytjara Wilurara region, contains a greater percentage of intact ecosystems and natural biological diversity than any region of the State.

Rain is infrequent and highly variable with annual evaporation around 3,500 mm, which far exceeds the rainfall average of less than 250 mm. These episodic drying and wetting patterns result in dynamic changes in plant and animal populations. The timing and scope of these natural fluctuations are extremely difficult to predict.

As a result of the weather patterns that drive SAAL systems, identifying and quantifying resource condition and trends is difficult and identifying and ameliorating unacceptable changes that result from human activities is even more so.

Groundwater from large aquifers like the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) offers the only source of reliable water in much of the Arid Lands. This means that most of the human activity in the region has centred round the bores, wells and natural springs that rely on this underground resource. In many parts of the SAAL Region where large-scale water resources are absent, the “collective” of smaller scale water features becomes important to the social, economic and environmental health of the region.

The human population in the SAAL Region is small and geographically sparse. The climate, resulting landforms and natural systems also limit the human activity and population. Most of the land is leasehold tenure used primarily for pastoral purposes. Large mining and petroleum companies also operate in the region.

(Source- South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resources Management (NRM) Board)

Key external links for further information

Regional Development Australia Far North Region - Development Assistance

SAAL NRM Board- Water Allocation Plan/Rules

Bureau of Meteorology - Climate data

Business SA - Easy Data (Regional Social, Economic and Environmental Indicators)