NSW irrigators can apply for a share of $111million in funding to upgrade their farm water infrastructure through round seven of the Sustaining the Basin Irrigated Farm Modernisation program.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair, said the program would help irrigators modernise their on-farm infrastructure and improve their water use efficiency.
“Under this program, irrigators are able to implement infrastructure improvements that deliver real benefits at the farmgate like greater flexibility in crop choice, increased yields and the ability to produce a larger crop from lower water allocations,” Mr Joyce said.
“More than $9.5million was invested in projects under Round 6 of the program, including works to upgrade and reconfigure water storages and install new infrastructure such as pump stations and lateral move irrigation systems.
“These projects are expected to generate more than 2,960ML in water savings—of which more than 700ML will be retained by irrigators, and the remainder used to support positive environmental outcomes in the Basin.
Mr Joyce said building better infrastructure is at the core of a productive and healthy Murray–Darling Basin, and the government is making an average of $2.5million available each day for infrastructure upgrades to support agricultural productivity and profitability, strong communities and healthy ecosystems across the Basin.
Minister Blair said round seven of the program would focus on the NSW Border River, Lower Namoi and Barwon Darling catchments.
“We’ve listened to feedback from irrigators in these catchments and under this round of the program we will be releasing indicative prices for entitlements, so irrigators can have greater confidence in planning and costing their project proposals,” Mr Blair said.
“We have also responded to requests from irrigators for greater flexibility when it comes to their project contribution and participants will now have the option of offering water entitlements instead of cash as their contribution to the project—although there will be no obligation to do so.
“Irrigators can also apply for up to $2,000 to use towards an Irrigated Farm Water Use Efficiency Assessment to help them identify areas of inefficiency and bring lost water back into productive use.”
The NSW Sustaining the Basin Irrigated Farm Modernisation program is funded by the Australian Government through the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program.
All water recovered in northern NSW catchments under the program goes towards NSW’s contribution to the shared downstream reduction as part of the implementation of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan in NSW.