The Federal Government has announced that five regional organisations and irrigation businesses will share in $100 million in funding to upgrade their on-farm infrastructure in the latest round of the On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program


The organisations are the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia Inc, Irrigation Efficiency Partners Pty Ltd, Fruit Growers Victoria Limited, the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board and Waterfind.


Federal Minister for Water, Tony Burke, said the initiative has already supported over 850 irrigators, helping them boost their water efficiency and helping them return the Murray-Darling Basin to health.


“These are the sorts of projects that provide social and economic benefits for communities in the Basin,” Mr Burke said.


"The infrastructure upgrades and improved water efficiency will allow irrigators to enhance farm production and invest in other parts of their enterprises.


“The water savings from the projects will benefit wetlands and river environments across the Basin.”


The Commonwealth will receive a projected 36.7 gigalitres of water entitlement (which equals 29.1 gigalitres on a long term annual yield basis) from these irrigation efficiency projects for the environment, representing at least 50 per cent of the water saved through the work.


“This is an example of how government, industry and communities are working together on win-win projects that help achieve long term reforms in the Murray-Darling Basin. The outcomes of these will mean future droughts can be faced with greater social, economic and ecological resilience,” Mr Burke said.


Projects will include laser levelling of paddocks, upgrading overhead irrigation, replacing flood irrigation, modernising drip irrigation systems and installing soil moisture monitoring and automation equipment.