NT needs dams to stop water waste: senator

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The Northern Territory needs more dams to store wet season rains for use in droughts or potential pipeline export to other states, a Top End senator says.

"When we get a good wet we get huge amounts of water dumped in the Top End and we have very little water storage facilities," senator Sam McMahon told reporters on Thursday.

"In fact, we haven't built any large-scale water storage facilities for the last 40 years and it's ridiculous that when we do get all this rainfall we catch very little of it."

She said dams were part of the solution for the NT, which is heavily reliant on groundwater for residential, industrial and agricultural water supply.

"It could be large dams. It could be small dams. It could be off-stream water storage, recharge solutions ... There are a lot of options," Senator McMahon said.

The senator made the comments as she opened a Commonwealth-funded drought research centre at Charles Darwin University in Darwin.

Asked about building a pipeline to carry wet season rain south to other parts of the country, she said the idea had "future potential" and would be looked at by the research centre.

The newly-opened Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub based in Darwin is one of eight opened around the country through the federal government's $5 billion Future Drought Fund.

"Some people might be confused why we're having a drought resilience innovation hub in Darwin when we get a wet season every year," Senator McMahon said.

"The fact is we do get a wet season every year but it's not always a good wet season."

Senator McMahon said the NT suffered from droughts like other states and the centre would provide communities and agricultural producers with information about sustainable water use to help them better prepare for and respond to drought.

The CDU centre will have research stations in Katherine, Alice Springs, as well as Broome and Perth in Western Australia.

Senator McMahon said the centre would also do research on rangeland management, pastures and water storage and use.

"Getting regional people working together to ensure research and development is useful for Top End producers and a vital step towards successful drought management in our communities," she said.

Charles Darwin University vice-chancellor Scott Bowman said the Hub would help primary producers with the practical tools and information they need during future dry conditions.