$53 million now available to Queensland MDB irrigators for water infrastructure upgrades
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce
Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham
11 January 2016
Queensland irrigators accessing the Murray–Darling Basin are encouraged to apply for a share in up to $53 million in funding to upgrade or build new water infrastructure under Round 10 of the Healthy HeadWaters Water Use Efficiency programme.
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham, said the programme supported irrigators to build or upgrade infrastructure to boost their on-farm water efficiency.
“This programme helps irrigators in the Queensland Murray–Darling Basin to invest in modern and efficient irrigation systems and technologies that reduce water loss and allow greater flexibility in water use—delivering water savings and on-farm productivity benefits,” Minister Joyce said.
“For example, participants in previous rounds of the programme have reported they’ve been able to implement improvements that have delivered their business more flexibility in crop choice, increased yield from crops, and the ability to produce a larger crop from lower water allocations.
“While delivering long-term social and economic benefits, the programme also returns a share of water savings to the Basin's rivers, wetlands and floodplains, supporting positive environmental outcomes.”
Minister Lynham said the current funding round was open to more irrigators than any previous round, with the Condamine catchment and additional Border Rivers zones now able to participate.
“I encourage interested irrigation farmers to consider applying—applications for the current round can be submitted at any time until 30 June 2016, with assessments made at the end of each month,” Minister Lynham said.
“Successful irrigators will receive up to 90 per cent of costs to upgrade on-farm water infrastructure, to assist irrigators in managing successful farming businesses while ensuring the long-term viability of the Basin by making more water available for the environment.
“Infrastructure works eligible under the programme include converting to overhead irrigation machines, upgrading from surface irrigation to trickle methods, upgrading or reconfiguring water storages to minimise seepage and evaporation losses and boost storage capacity, and replacing inefficient storages.
“Of the water saved as a result of the infrastructure upgrades, up to 50 per cent of the water can be retained by the irrigator, with the remainder transferred to the Australian Government to restore environmental flows.”
Minister Joyce said the programme, funded by the Australian Government and delivered by the Queensland Government, was an important part of the Australian Government’s vision for a productive and healthy Murray–Darling Basin.
“Since it began in 2010, the Australian Government has committed $90.3 million in funding across 57 projects as part of this programme,” Minister Joyce said.
“In this time, the Healthy HeadWaters programme has contributed 17.5 gigalitres of water to Bridging the Gap to the sustainable diversion limits set under the Basin Plan, and irrigators have also benefited by retaining 11 gigalitres of additional productive water as a result of on-farm efficiencies.”
The Healthy Headwaters Water Use Efficiency programme is administered by Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources and Mines with funding from the Australian Government's Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program.