South Australia could become a world leader in tackling water shortages and waste under a plan outlined by Nick Xenophon ahead of the South Australian election.

SA-BEST has pledged $20 million towards a state-wide stormwater plan and research to help the state cope better with droughts, including plant resilience and increasing crop yields, if it holds the balance of power after the March 17 poll.

‘As the driest state in the driest continent we have an obligation to ourselves to tackle a world water shortage before it happens,’ Mr Xenophon said.