Significant rural industries are a feature in this subregion. The Barossa Valley is a famous wine region, which, with related activities, supports high employment; forestry around Mount Crawford is complemented by substantial areas of cropping and grazing; and commuters are moving into the area to enjoy a rural lifestyle.
In the varied topography, grassland and grassy woodland once reigned but were disproportionately cleared; they are often still not recognised for their intrinsic worth.
Further south, heathy woodland was logged; significant area of this vegetation still remain, particularly in the South Para connected area of remnant vegetation, where the Heath Goanna finds some protection.
The watercourses of the Light and North Para rivers are naturally ephemeral but have been reduced by use for stock and irrigation in the south. Flows in the South Para River have been heavily impacted by water storage dams, which provide water for northern Adelaide and the lower mid-north, and by farm dams. Flow may be reduced by as much as 60% during the low rainfall period of November–March. Irrigation water in the Barossa now comes from surface water, groundwater, the River Murray (all prescribed) and recycled water.