Cotton, water and the woman on a marathon mission


The world is experiencing a water crisis yet this is often missing from global conversations.

In Australia, water sustains Murray-Darling Basin’s agricultural industry which contributes over $22 billion to the economy each year.  

Any farmer will tell you water is their version of liquid gold. It’s critical to growing crops, keeping land fertile and ultimately ensuring they can produce the food and goods we need to survive. 

However, from the worst drought in the last century to the recent floods, there is often too much water or too little of it. In the last few years, prolonged drought meant farmers significantly reduced their cotton plantings because of the lack of water or when it floods, the crop goes under water and can not be used. 

The cotton industry has faced this flood or famine issue for decades. 

Preserving precious water for extreme weather events and the rising impact of climate change has seen cotton farmers make huge strides in reducing their water usage. 

By optimising technology and innovation, they have been able to improve irrigation and dryland cropping throughout harvesting season. As a result, the Australian cotton industry has improved water use efficiency by almost 50 per cent over the past 30 years and is considered a water leader in the agriculture industry, for all the right reasons.

They want to share their success story more broadly to help other farmers and the industry but also ensure the community understand what goes into producing Aussie cotton. At the same time, they are continuing to look at ways to future proof their livelihood and the availability of water. 

Using this harvest season as a call to action on water, sixth generation cotton farmer, Andrew Watson, met with Thirst Foundation founder and CEO, Mina Guli, Bayer, Cotton Australia and cotton industry stakeholders in Narrabri New South Wales to celebrate 30 years of water action in Australian cotton.

Mina is running 200 marathons in one year to draw attention to the global water crisis as part of a campaign called RUN BLUE. Backed by Bayer, Mina is calling on 200 global companies to commit to take critical action on water before World Water Day in March 2023 to help solve shared water challenges. Mina chose to run through New South Wales cotton country to highlight Australia’s cotton industry as one of the most water efficient cotton industries in the world.

As a leader in Australian agriculture, Bayer is proud to partner with cotton growers to reduce water use through innovation in seeds and traits and crop protection. The Bayer and Goanna Ag Water Use Efficiency Grant provides myBMP certified cotton growers with access to Goanna Ag’s GoField Plus technolog. GoField plus uses field data and an analytics platform developed in Australia by CSIRO and the Cotton Research & Development Corporation (CRDC) to help growers optimise irrigation scheduling and will contribute to the cotton industry’s sustainability targets regarding water use efficiency.

Join the Global RUN BLUE Movement
We invite you to join the campaign to help tackle the water crisis and to ensure everyone across the world has access to clean water and sanitation.