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Re-plumbing irrigation in the Murray Darling Basin; an analysis of five years of Australian Government investment Richard McLoughlin.

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Presentation on theme: "Re-plumbing irrigation in the Murray Darling Basin; an analysis of five years of Australian Government investment Richard McLoughlin."— Presentation transcript:

1 Re-plumbing irrigation in the Murray Darling Basin; an analysis of five years of Australian Government investment Richard McLoughlin

2 The Government has committed to implementing the Murray Darling Basin Plan on time and in full. This includes the commitment to bridge the gap by recovering 2750 GL LTAAY of water for the environment. Murray Darling Basin Plan

3 Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program  The Government’s vehicle for water recovery.  Over $10 billion  Water savings are recovered for the environment in order to ‘bridge the gap’ to the sustainable diversion limits under the Murray Darling Basin Plan through three main components:  Three components: 1.Irrigation infrastructure projects; 2.Water purchase and 3.“Supply measures”



6 SRWUIP Infrastructure  The majority of rural water infrastructure funds have been 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.  Water savings are shared between the Australian Government for environmental use and irrigators for consumptive use, supporting increased productivity and economic activity in regional communities.

7 SRWUIP Infrastructure State Priority Projects (up to $3.2b) State Priority Projects (up to $3.2b) Other commitments include: Other commitments include: State led projects Commonwealth led projects Commonwealth led projects Victoria $1,103m South Australia $420m Queensland $160m New South Wales $708m Australian Capital Territory $85m NSW Private Irrigation Infrastructure Operators Program South Australia Private Irrigation Infrastructure Program Strengthening Basin Communities On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency $450m Irrigation in Tasmania


9 Designing rural water infrastructure programs Consultation with industry has helped ground programs in local/industry experience Programs like NSW Private Irrigation Infrastructure Operators Program (PIIOP) see locally-driven design for major system refurbishment Fit for purpose and meeting local needs Design built on good planning Sound technical underpinning Properly costed Competent project management Positive cost benefit

10 Types of Infrastructure Projects – Planning, investigations and project design – Works on irrigation systems off farm - modernisation and rationalisation – Works on farm to improve water use efficiency – Works to improve ecological health and restore natural flows – Water saving municipal projects – e.g. storm water harvesting

11 Who are delivering the projects? State government departments e.g. water, primary industry, environment Irrigation infrastructure operators Irrigation industry associations Industry commodity bodies e.g. rice-growers, tomato growers Individual irrigators Catchment management (resource management) authorities Local government Water utilities CSIRO (sustainable yields studies)

12 Upgrading irrigation systems off farm Works to improve efficiency and timeliness of irrigation water delivery, e.g. – Fixing/replacing leaky old systems – Lining channels or replacing channels with pipes – Automation to improve water delivery – Metering upgrades to meet modern efficiency standards – Reconfiguring and rationalising channel systems and farm off-takes Examples: Vic Goulburn-Murray Connections Program NSW Private Irrigation Infrastructure Operators Program

13 Upgrading Irrigation Systems On farm Works on farm to deliver and use water more efficiently and increasing productivity, e.g. – Improving on farm storage and tail water recirculation system – Installing pipes and risers – Installing drip irrigation systems and centre pivot irrigation as an alternative to the traditional flood irrigation Examples: On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program in the Southern Basin Victorian Farm Modernisation Program QLD Water Use Efficiency Program NSW Pilot - Farm Modernisation in Gwydir & Border Rivers

14 Benefits from irrigation infrastructure investment Community/industry support for irrigation infrastructure investment programs is generally strong creates jobs during roll-out underpins long-term viability and economic sustainability of irrigation industry and regional communities. Completed projects have demonstrated improved productivity benefits: increased crop rotation ability reduced labour costs increased crop water use efficiencies improved soil management reduced maintenance reduced weed control requirements farmer’s share of water savings available for production

15 Monitoring and Evaluation – NSW PIIOP example Regular contact with grantees to discuss progress and issues Milestone payments with evidence of completion of works and audited financial reports Financial reviews to ensure contract compliance Workplace Health and Safety reviews to ensure implementation of legislated requirements Visits by department staff to view works Assisting grantees to provide detailed information on the program’s key performance indicators

16 Analysis of SRWUIP investment in Centre Pivots StatePivots funded Average Area Irrigated (Ha) Total Area Irrigated (Ha) Capital Cost (GST excl) Cost/Ha Irrigated Qld HHW969618$1,574,388$2,546 NSW PIIOP955499$1,858,640$3,722 Vic Farm Mod 1351667$2,650,155$3,973 OFIEP Rd 135501,760$5,555,172$3,157 OFIEP Rd 264452,892$9,791,606$3,386 Total130506,437$21,429,911$3,329 Initial analysis of 130 centre pivot irrigators funded under SRWUIP. In general, costs decrease with increased area under irrigation.

17 Qld HHW Vic Farm Mod

18 Liebich Estates – PIIPSA Wine grape and citrus in the SA Riverland Included upgrades to existing infrastructure, new pumps, automation and soil monitoring On-farm water use reduced from 10ML/Ha to 6ML/Ha.

19 Trangie-Nevertire Irrigation Scheme Irrigation cooperative in NSW Macquarie River catchment Targeted “whole of system” approach to channel distribution system and on- farm water loss. Returned water savings to the Commonwealth of nearly 30GL. Reduced ‘boom or bust’ extremes of water supply

20 Lachlan Catchment Management Authority Regional delivery partner coordinating irrigators around Parkes NSW Implemented a water storage and reuse scheme utilising lateral move irrigators Reduced water use by 3.7ML/Ha Enables consistent production level and increased financial sustainability

21 Where to next? Release of the Water Recovery Strategy Government priority for future recovery of water through infrastructure investment. Work with Basin States to develop proposed projects, such as environmental works and measures, that can deliver Basin Plan environmental outcomes with less water, thus leaving more water available for consumptive use.

22 Questions & Discussion

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