Irrigators in northern NSW can apply for a share of funding to upgrade on-farm water infrastructure.

The latest round of funding for the Sustaining the Basin: Irrigated Farm Modernisation program will recover non-productive water and share it between the environment and irrigators.

All irrigators with eligible entitlements in the NSW Border Rivers, Gwydir, Namoi/Peel, Macquarie/Cudgegong and Barwon/Darling water management can apply for Irrigated Farm Water Use Efficiency Assessment (IFWUEA) funding to assist with infrastructure planning. Applications are open until 30 June 2017.

The benefits of infrastructure upgrades include greater flexibility in crop choice, improved operational efficiencies, increased yields and enhanced water efficiency.

NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water Niall Blair said the program was an opportunity for northern NSW producers to build additional resilience into their business.

“Previous funding rounds have resulted in over 32 GL of identified water savings, with 10 GL retained by irrigators to boost on-farm productivity,” Mr Blair said.

The Sustaining the Basin: Irrigated Farm Modernisation program is delivered by the NSW Department of Primary Industries with funding from the Australian Government’s Sustainable Rural Water Use & Infrastructure program.

Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program

The Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program (SRWUIP) is a national programme investing in rural water use, management and efficiency, including improved water knowledge and market reform, and water purchase for the environment.

SRWUIP is the key mechanism to ‘bridge the gap’ to the sustainable diversion limits (SDLs) under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and consists of 3 main components:

  • irrigation infrastructure projects
  • water purchase measures
  • supply measures.

The majority of SRWUIP infrastructure funds are committed to projects in the Murray-Darling Basin for improving the operation of off-farm delivery systems and helping irrigators improve on-farm water use efficiency. The water savings generated from these projects are shared between the Australian governments for environmental use, and irrigators for consumptive use.

SRWUIP investments include:

  • planning, investigations and project design
  • works on off-farm irrigation systems
  • works on farms to improve water use efficiency
  • works to improve ecological health and restore natural flows
  • water saving municipal projects
  • water purchase through the Commonwealth purchasing program
  • environmental works and changes to river operations that enable the same environmental outcomes to be achieved with less water.