Irrigators in northern New South Wales can now apply for a share of $111 million in funding to upgrade on-farm water infrastructure, with Round 7 of the Sustaining the Basin Irrigated Farm Modernisation programme opening today. Source: AFDJ eNews
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,” Minister Joyce said.
“More than $9.5 million 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 2960 ML in water savings—of which more than 700 ML will be retained by irrigators, and the remainder used to support positive environmental outcomes in the Basin.
“Building better infrastructure is at the core of our vision for a productive and healthy Murray–Darling Basin, and we are making an average of around $2.5 million 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 programme we will be releasing indicative prices for entitlements, so irrigators can have greater confidence in planning and costing their project proposals,” Minister 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 $2000 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.”