Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2009
Outcome 3 - Water
The department, through the Water Group, implements Australian Government policies and programs designed to achieve:
- Sustainable rural communities
- Urban water security
- Environmental improvement of our rivers and wetlands.
The priority in 2008-09, was to implement Water for the Future, the Australian Government's 10-year, $12.9 billion investment in strategic programs, improved water management arrangements, and a renewed commitment to deliver a range of water policy reforms in both rural and urban areas.
||Water Group: Water Efficiency, Water Reform and Water Governance Divisions|
- The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) (established under the Water Act 2007) commenced operations on 8 September 2008. Board Members were appointed on 14 May 2009.
- The Intergovernmental Agreement on the Murray-Darling Basin was finalised and signed on 3 July 2008. The Water Amendment Act 2008 came into force on 15 December 2008 giving new responsibilities to the MDBA.
- The first major infrastructure project under the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure program was delivered, when a potable water pipeline servicing the eastern side of the lower lakes of South Australia was opened on 18 February 2009.
- New urban water programs, including the National Urban Water and Desalination Plan and the National Rainwater and Greywater Initiative, were launched and projects started under the National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns.
- The program to buy water entitlements to help restore the Basin environment was extended and accelerated. Through the water purchase tenders conducted in 2008-09, the Commonwealth has secured the purchase of 408 gigalitres of water entitlements, worth over $612 million.
- The first release of water from the entitlements purchased by the Australian Government for the environment, occurred during March 2009. During the year a total of 10.9 gigalitres of water was delivered to 10 environmental sites in South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.
- Throughout the year, the minister and senior departmental officials travelled extensively to engage with stakeholders. Each catchment and region within the Murray-Darling Basin has been allocated a named departmental official to provide a single point of contact on all issues. Three stakeholder reference panels have been established addressing water purchasing and use, irrigation efficiency and urban water reform.
The department's objectives in water reform, as set out in the Portfolio Budget Statements for 2008-09, were to work with governments, industry and community stakeholders, to address environmental issues associated with water resource management and to increase the efficiency with which water resources are allocated and used.
Water for the Future, which is the basis for the work program of the Water Group, focuses on four key priorities:
- Taking Action on Climate Change
- Reduced water availability is a reality for both rural and urban Australia. Reforms need to occur now to assist industry and communities to adapt to lower water availability.
- Using Water Wisely
- Making efficient use of available water supplies in both urban and regional areas, to assist industries and communities adapt to a future with less water.
- Securing Water Supplies
- Sourcing alternative water supplies for towns and cities to reduce reliance on rainfall.
- Healthy Rivers and Waterways
- Improving the health of the environment by returning water to rivers and wetlands.
In addition to the highlights, significant results for 2008-09 include:
National Program of Water Reform
- Implementation of water market and water charge (termination fee) rules for the Murray-Darling Basin (the Basin). These rules promote water trade in the Basin by removing trade restrictions imposed by irrigation infrastructure operators, and provide a uniform approach to setting termination fees. The rules were signed by the Minister for Climate Change and Water on 10 June 2009.
- The department began negotiations with states and territories on Commonwealth-State Water Management Partnership Agreements. These agreements will set out the arrangements for Australian Government funding of state priority projects and the commitments of the states to water reform.
In Rural Areas
- Undertook extensive work with the states to encourage the development of business cases for a range of infrastructure projects across the Basin.
- Assisted the New South Wales Government to purchase Toorale Station in north-western New South Wales. Through this purchase, an average of 20 gigalitres of water will be returned to the Darling River each year.
- Two new programs were announced in 2009 to assist irrigators and communities in the Murray-Darling Basin. The On-farm Irrigation Efficiency program will provide grants to irrigators in the southern Basin, and the Strengthening Basin Communities program will help communities plan for a future with less water.
- The establishment of the Water Recovery and Environmental Use Stakeholder Reference Panel, to provide a forum for discussion on water entitlement purchasing and the use of water for addressing environmental needs.
In Urban Areas
- Established the National Rainwater and Greywater Initiative that provides rebates to households for rainwater tanks or greywater systems, and provides grants to surf life-saving clubs to improve and increase water efficiency.
- Commenced a competitive tender process for the National Urban Water and Desalination Plan. This plan will provide funding for desalination, stormwater harvesting and reuse, and water recycling projects. Funding for a Centre of Excellence in Desalination in Perth was announced by the Australian Government on 15 May 2008.
- The commencement of 11 projects under the National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns, to help secure the water supplies of communities of 50 000 people or less.
- Increased the number of product models registered with the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme to more than 11 900. And commenced consultation with the public and industry on proposals to implement minimum water efficiency standards for whitegoods (for example, washing machines and dishwashers).
- The establishment of the Urban Water Stakeholder Reference Panel to provide advice on urban water issues and the implementation of urban programs.
Healthy Rivers and Wetlands
- Established the Environmental Water Scientific Advisory Committee to advise the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder on the priorities for the use of environmental water.
- Commenced the development of a rolling review for Australian Ramsar sites.
- Invested over $140 million over the life of The Living Murray Initiative towards the recovery of 343 gigalitres of water, as at June 2009, to return to six icon sites on the River Murray.
- Established a taskforce to work with the South Australian Government, to urgently address the environmental issues facing the Coorong and Lower Lakes in the mouth of the River Murray.
The National Water Initiative (NWI) is endorsed by all Australian jurisdictions and is the blueprint for national water reform. The NWI aims to achieve a nationally compatible market, regulatory and planning-based system of managing surface and groundwater resources that optimises economic, social and environmental outcomes in rural and urban areas.
Water for the Future sets out the Australian Government's 10-year, $12.9 billion national agenda for water reform, consistent with the National Water Initiative. It is built on four key priorities: taking action on climate change; using water wisely; securing water supplies; and supporting healthy rivers.
The Water Act 2007 took effect on 3 March 2008, and provides the legislative framework for the implementation of many of the elements of the National Water Initiative, including the establishment of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA).
In July 2008 the four state and one territory governments of the Murray-Darling Basin signed an Intergovernmental Agreement on Murray-Darling Basin Reform (IGA). As a result, the Basin states and the Australian Capital Territory referred powers to the Commonwealth, which enabled the MDBA to take on the responsibilities of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, in December 2008.
Strategic approach in 2008-09
The department has four interlinked approaches:
A national program of Water Reform
Photo: John Baker
The department is negotiating Commonwealth-State Water Management Partnerships, under the IGA, with basin states and the Australian Capital Territory. These will include funding commitments by the Australian Government, subject to due diligence, of State Priority Projects; and commitments by states and territories to deliver the reforms agreed to under the National Water Initiative.
The department is working with key partners to implement new management and information frameworks for the entire Murray-Darling Basin, including:
- The MDBA to deliver a Basin Plan in 2011, which will include: new sustainable diversion limit; sustainable limits on surface and groundwater use; allowance for critical human water needs of communities that use water from the Murray River and its tributaries; an environmental watering plan; and a water quality and salinity management plan.
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to provide advice on water market, charge and trading rules, as well as monitor and enforce the market and charge rules.
- Bureau of Meteorology to develop national water information systems and a national water account.
- National Water Commission to conduct audits to confirm that water plans are implemented, including auditing the effectiveness of the implementation of the Basin Plan.
In 2008-09, the department also started work with governments on: a National Water Knowledge and Research Plan, to coordinate research across all jurisdictions; a National Hydrological Modelling Strategy; and a National Innovation Plan. A strategic review of the National Water Quality Management Strategy Guidelines was also commenced.
The department is working with jurisdictions to deliver an enhanced urban water reform agenda, agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in November 2008, which will improve urban water security.
In Rural Areas
Irrigators across Australia are facing a future with significant reductions in water availability, as a result of a combination of factors, including: prolonged drought; climate change; and efforts to return our surface and groundwater systems to sustainable levels of extraction. The department is assisting the transition to lower diversion limits expected under the Basin Plan through:
- Increasing the efficiency of water use in irrigation by 25 per cent by 2017, through the $5.8 billion Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure program. A proportion of the water savings will be returned to irrigators, assisting them to be in a more sustainable position.
- Purchasing water entitlements from willing sellers to improve the health of the Murray-Darling Basin's rivers and wetlands, through the $3.1 billion Restoring the Balance in the Murray-Darling Basin program, which was accelerated during 2008-09.
Outside of the Murray-Darling Basin, the department extended the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Sustainable Yields program, to provide governments with the scientific information to assist them in planning and managing water sustainably. The completion of Stage 2 of the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative in 2008-09, and the planned commencement of Stage 3 early in 2009-10, are examples of the department working to improve the management of rural groundwater resources.
In Urban Areas
Urban water security has become a critical national issue, with many cities and towns on prolonged and severe water restrictions. Diversification of water supply is a priority for many communities, particularly those that have relied on rainfall. In 2008-09, the strategy has been to effectively deliver existing and new programs and projects to:
- secure water supplies, by investing with states and territories in upgrading infrastructure, diversifying sources, and by adopting and developing new technologies, such as aquifer storage. The key focus in 2008-09, has been the National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns and the National Urban Water and Desalination Plan (including Centres of Excellence for Desalination and Water Recycling). Preparations began for a new program of Stormwater Harvesting and Reuse Projects worth $200 million to start in 2009-10.
- help all Australians use water more efficiently. The key focus in 2008-09 has been to implement the National Rainwater and Greywater Initiative and Green Precincts Fund, and to increase the effectiveness of existing projects, such as the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme.
The department has also continued to deliver existing programs, in particular Water Smart Australia that encourages the development and adoption of new technologies and practices in water use.
Healthy rivers and wetlands
Helping to improve the management of freshwater aquatic ecosystems across Australia is a priority. The department leads the development of national policies on implementing the Ramsar Convention, river health, and aquatic ecosystems (including developing a national framework for High Conservation Value Aquatic Ecosystems). It also supports the development of Water Quality Improvement Plans for coastal hotspots, and building public awareness and support for wetlands nationwide. All national policy is developed through working groups under the Natural Resources Management Ministerial Council.
The environmental health of the aquatic ecosystems in the Murray-Darling Basin has been well documented. In the Sustainable Rivers Audit 2004-07, it indicated that 20 of the 23 designated valleys in the Basin are either in poor health or very poor health. The department is addressing this issue through the establishment of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) in the department, under the Water Act 2007, to manage the Commonwealth environmental water holdings. During the year, the first environmental water was allocated (see Case study 3) and, in total, 10.9 gigalitres were provided to 10 sites as a result of Australian Government programs. As at 30 June 2009, the Australian Government had acquired a total of 63.57 gigalitres of environmental water, an amount that will increase in future years.
New Parliamentary Secretary for Water
The Hon Dr Mike Kelly AM MP was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Water on 25 February 2009. In this capacity he has assisted the Minister for Climate Change and Water to work in consultation with stakeholders to develop and implement innovative policy solutions to ensure Australia's water sustainability.
The department delivers a high proportion of the administered appropriations for water reform through projects and grant schemes. In 2008-09 the department implemented a long-term program to embed best practice project management. Project plans include strategies for monitoring and evaluation. Key projects and grant schemes are monitored on a monthly basis by the Water Group Executive. They may be reviewed by internal or external audit when requested or required.
Major funding requests from states and territories must be supported by a sound business case. Each business case is subject to due diligence testing, to ensure they contribute to the governments' water reform objectives.
In 2008-09 the department's Internal Audit team reviewed the efficiency and effectiveness of the water purchase program, the Australian National Audit Office started a performance audit of Water Smart Australia, and a review of the second stage of the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative was completed. Such reviews are likely to increase in number as Water for the Future projects and programs mature. Preparations started for a review of the National Water Quality Management Strategy.
Internal and external reviews and evaluations are commissioned as necessary, and are likely to increase in number as Water for the Future projects and programs mature. A review of the second stage of the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative was completed in 2008. Preparations started in 2008-09 for a review of the National Water Quality Management Strategy.
The National Water Commission conducts biennial reviews of the implementation of water reforms, as set out under the National Water Initiative, the framework within which Water for the Future operates. The COAG Reform Council is responsible for reporting to the Council of Australian Governments on the performance of the Commonwealth and the Basin States under Water Management Partnerships.
The department's purchase of water entitlements (Restoring the Balance in the Murray-Darling Basin) started in 2007-08. The aim of the program is to achieve a permanent rebalance between consumptive purposes and the environment. This will provide water for high-value environmental assets, including, where appropriate, leaving it within rivers to help enhance the overall health and sustainability of the river system.
Under the water purchasing program, $3.1 billion is to be spent over the 10 years 2007-08 to 20016-17 to purchase water entitlements. By the end of 2008-09 the program had increased the volume of secured purchases, through either settled trades or exchanged contracts), to 446 gigalitres of water entitlements, worth $663 million. In September 2008, a program was launched to help small scale irrigators leave irrigation (selling their water to the Commonwealth) but remain in their community.
In December 2008 the first combined purchase of land and water was undertaken. Toorale Station near Bourke, New South Wales was purchased by the New South Wales Government, with assistance from the Australian Government (see Case study 2 for details). This was an important purchase, due both to the size of the water entitlements and the high-value environmental assets on the property. More than half the property has been gazetted as a Wildlife Refuge for more than 25 years, and the entire property will now become a part of the National Reserve System.
At the beginning of 2009 the water purchasing program was accelerated, as part of the Australian Government's Nation Building and Jobs Plan, allowing the department to bring forward expenditure from future years to buy water.
In 2008-09 the water purchasing program far exceeded the ambitious acquisition and spending targets set at the start of the year. Further, it is already achieving results in improving environmental outcomes; for example, through releases of environmental water in South Australia in March 2009 and later in New South Wales and Victoria (see Case study 3 on the use of Australian Government environmental water).
Transparency of the program is achieved by uploading key information to the internet, such as: the criteria used to assess value for money; a summary of publicly available market price information; and water purchase outcomes. Extensive community consultation is also undertaken. The first round of community consultation was held in July 2008. The Water Recovery and Environmental Use Stakeholder Reference Panel gives a formal voice to those with an interest in the outcomes of the water purchasing program.
Toorale Station's Irrigation Infrastructure will be decommissioned.
Photo: David Tonkin
The New South Wales Government purchased Toorale Station in December 2008, with assistance from the Australian Government. Toorale is a 91 383 hectare property situated at the junction of the Darling and Warrego Rivers, approximately 60 kilometres downstream from Bourke.
Toorale was a substantial user of water. It had more than 2000 hectares developed for irrigation and held entitlements to extract 14 gigalitres of water from the Darling River each year. It had additional licenses for a system of banks and levees. This system spreads moderate to high flows in the Warrego River across the floodplain and allows water to be stored on-farm, through a series of dams along the Warrego River.
The department has commissioned work to establish options to decommission existing infrastructure that will be value for money, and will result in maximising water returns to the environment, taking into account local cultural heritage and ecological values.
New South Wales is responsible for managing the land as an important addition to the National Reserve System. The water will be transferred to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder when a Water Sharing Plan is in place for the region. Each year, an average of 20 gigalitres of water will be returned to the Darling River, peaking at up to 80 gigalitres in flood years.
Following heavy rains in north-west New South Wales and south-west Queensland in February-March 2009, flows in the Darling River, downstream of Toorale, were boosted by an estimated 11.4 gigalitres, as a direct result of irrigation extractions having ceased at Toorale. This water flowed 1300 kilometres to the Darling-Murray junction, and the remaining 8.7 gigalitres (after evaporation or seepage) was made available for environmental use at five sites in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
The Chowilla Floodplain benefited from Environmental Watering.
Photo: Mark Mohell
The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) manages the government's environmental water holdings, to protect and restore the environmental assets of the Murray-Darling Basin (see separate Annual Report of the CEWH 2008-09 in Volume 2).
During 2008-09 the first use of Commonwealth environmental water occurred, through the purchase of water entitlements (see Case study 1) and from the purchase of Toorale Station (see Case study 2). In total, 10.9 gigalitres were allocated to 10 sites in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales to maintain stands of River Red Gums, pockets of healthy ecosystems in drought affected floodplains and wetlands, and refuges for threatened species. The sites were selected from proposals received from the states, and were assessed on merit, in consultation with the Environmental Water Scientific Advisory Committee. Key criteria included the:
- urgency of watering requirements
- ecological significance of the site
- expected outcomes from the watering
- degree to which Australian Government water would make a substantial contribution to the outcomes
- cost effectiveness of the watering, including financial and in-kind contributions provided by the states.
Sites chosen included Chowilla Floodplain in South Australia (see illustration), and the Hattah Lakes and Lindsay Island in Victoria. These sites are renowned for their wetland habitats, which provide shelter for threatened species, such as the Southern Bell Frog and the Regent Parrot.
Water was also provided to Paiwalla wetlands, listed in the Directory of Important wetlands in Australia, and Overland Corner, habitat for the nationally-listed Regent Parrot and the Southern Bell Frog. The Paiwalla wetlands site is owned and managed by a local community group, the Wetlands Habitat Trust, which over the past 10 years has restored the former dairy property to wetlands. Since 1997 the Overland Corner Wetland Group has also been implementing management actions to conserve floodplain wetland habitat.
The department is working closely with relevant state government agencies on environmental watering. One example of successful cooperation occurred at Hattah Lakes in June 2009. In total, 4.8 gigalitres of water were delivered, including 2.1 gigalitres agreed by the Australian Government (both from water entitlements directly purchased and resulting from the purchase of Toorale Station). The balance of the water was provided by the Victorian Government and from The Living Murray Initiative. Hattah Lakes is a Ramsar listed wetlands site, and an icon site of The Living Murray Initiative, containing River Red Gums and habitat for water birds and threatened species, including the vulnerable Regent Parrot.
Adelaide faces the risk of severe water shortages and there are a number of projects being supported by the department, to improve both water security and to reduce the demands on the River Murray. Previously, the Adelaide parklands have been irrigated using drinking water. However, the Glenelg to Adelaide Parklands Recycled Water Project, which will be completed in 2010, provides the infrastructure to supply two gigalitres of recycled water from the Glenelg wastewater treatment plant, for use in the parklands. This infrastructure can be extended to provide recycled water to other users in the future.
The project will save precious drinking water, while maintaining the amenity of the parklands. There are also environmental benefits, from lower discharges of nutrients into Gulf St Vincent and better water quality in the Torrens River and Lake Torrens.
The Australian Government has contributed $30 million of the $75 million project. The funding is provided through the National Urban Water and Desalination Plan.
Irrigation Regulating Valve which allows water flows to be set accurately.
Photo: John Baker
The Irrigation Modernisation Planning Assistance Program (IMPA) provides assistance to irrigation water providers to develop long-term, strategic plans that consider how to improve their water use efficiency and respond to the challenges of climate change.
IMPA projects have been completed, and are currently underway, across New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. The program includes large irrigation water providers, such as Goulburn-Murray Water and Murray Irrigation Ltd, through to smaller private irrigation districts, such as the Tenandra Irrigation Scheme. Irrigation water providers are encouraged to address the critical issues facing their system and region, to maximise the effectiveness of their modernisation planning process.
The first round of 13 IMPA projects, worth more than $4 million, is well advanced and nearing completion. A further four grants, valued at more than $560,000, have recently been agreed. Further funding will be available to allow other irrigation water providers to complete modernisation plans for their irrigation districts.
An Irrigators' Forum was held in April 2009, to bring together current and future participants in the IMPA program. The aim was to share lessons learned and consider the role that strategic planning can play in securing a long-term sustainable future for irrigation communities. The Forum confirmed the importance of modernisation planning as a tool to help irrigation water providers plan for the future and respond to reduced water availability in the years ahead. The Forum also highlighted the diversity and complexity of the challenges, and the range of possible solutions, including: infrastructure upgrades; system reconfiguration; and changes in crop type and on-farm irrigation efficiency delivery mechanisms.
IMPA complements a range of other Water for the Future programs. A number of IMPA participants have carried out irrigation hotspots assessments to help identify areas of high water loss in irrigation delivery systems. Irrigation water providers may also use their completed modernisation plan to support applications under other Water for the Future programs, including the Private Irrigation Infrastructure Operators Program, by demonstrating that their project will deliver a long-term economic and environmental benefit.
|Restoring the Balance in the Basin - volume of entitlements purchased
Continuation of the water entitlement purchase program in the Murray-Darling Basin
|The program has been accelerated, by bringing forward $250 million as part of the Australian Government's Nation Building and Jobs Plan, and expanded to include the northern and southern Basin, small-block irrigator exit grants, irrigator-led group proposals and purchases of land and water in partnership with state governments.|
|Reform for the Murray-Darling Basin
Bring together the MDBA and the MDBC as a new, single Authority, the MDBA
Progress appointment of MDBA members Develop and implement transition arrangements to ensure ongoing management of Murray-Darling Basin issues
|Transition arrangements were effective. The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) commenced operations on 8 September 2008. The MDBA assumed the powers of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission (MDBC) on 15 December 2008, and discharged them effectively. The Board was appointed on 14 May 2009.|
|Completion of CSIRO Sustainable Yields project by end first quarter 2008-09, for catchments and aquifers in the Murray-Darling Basin||The project was completed and the results announced and made available to the public by the end of 2008. The project has been extended to Western Australia and Tasmania.|
|Contribute to the development of a new Basin Plan that will incorporate a new sustainable cap on diversions, for surface and groundwater use||The department is playing a key role in providing policy advice and practical support to the MDBA.|
|Support the Senior Officers Group on Drought Contingency Planning||The Basin Officials Committee, chaired by the Water Group Deputy Secretary and supported by the Group's MDB Policy Team, has assumed the responsibilities of the Senior Officers Group. It has held three extraordinary meetings on drought contingency planning.|
|Effective environmental water use
Effective delivery of water managed by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) to environmental priorities
|The CEWH agreed the use of 10.9 gigalitres of water at ten sites during the year, with the objective of sustaining critical ecosystems during the drought. The choice of locations was made in consultation with states and the Environmental Water Scientific Advisory Committee.|
|Improved management of protected wetlands
All Ramsar-listed wetlands have management plans in operation
|For the Coorong and Lower Lakes, $3 million of the allocated $10 million was provided to assist the South Australian government to undertake a comprehensive feasibility study for the sustainable long-term future of this area. Initial work was done to implement the government's $10 million bioremediation and revegetation program.|
|Improved water quality
Number of water quality improvement plans and associated interim projects completed or under development
|7 of a total of 10 Water Quality Improvement Plans are complete, with the remaining plans at a final draft stage and seeking stakeholder review. All water quality interim projects that support the developed Water Quality Improvement Plans across 13 coastal hotspots, are complete.|
|National water policy reform
Develop a forward work program on water reform for COAG, to report in October 2008, including a revised implementation timetable for the National Water Initiative
|A forward work program for water reform was developed for COAG in November 2008.|
|Assessment of Northern Australia land and water resources
Extend the CSIRO Sustainable Yields study to the key surface and groundwater systems and basins within the Timor Sea and Gulf of Carpentaria drainage divisions, and that part of the North East Coast drainage division, north of Cairns
|This work is under way.|
|Implementation of the Great Artesian Basin bore capping program (third stage)
Improved engagement of groundwater resources in the Basin. Establishment of the Great Artesian Basin monitoring Network
|Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative, Stage 2 has been completed. Preparations for the implementation of Stage 3 are well advanced. Stage 1 of the Great Artesian Basin Monitoring Network has been implemented. Stage 2 will be rolled out in 2009-10.|
|Implementation of the Living Murray Initiative
Progress towards Murray River Icon Site ecological objectives endorsed by Ministers
|The total direct Australian Government spending in 2008-09 was $55.8 million. This has contributed to 342.5 gigalitres Long Term Cap Equivalent (LTCE) of water recovery measures listed on the Environmental Water register, as at 30 June 2009. Projects involving up to a further 163 gigalitres LTCE were being implemented at that time.|
|Contribution to Water for Rivers (Joint Government Enterprise)
Increased environmental flows in the Murray and Snowy Rivers
|Continued support for the activities of Water for Rivers to meet its cumulative recovery target of 212 gigalitres of water entitlements for the environment through a contribution of $7.5 million in 2008-09.|
|Water Resource Assessment and Research Grants (WRARG)
The extent to which water resources assessment and research grants promote the sustainable use and management of water resources
|Grants in 2008-09 have addressed the development of technical advice to irrigators on best pro-active water management (e.g. National audit of on-farm irrigation information tools, water-loss hot spots manual for irrigation systems), through to strategic policy advice on the operation of water markets, use of recycled water and groundwater availability in remote areas. The information gained supports the principle of fact-based decision making both for government and the department's stakeholders.|
|Achieving efficiency measures in rural water use
State priority projects due diligence assessments commenced
|Commonwealth-Basin State Water Management Partnership Agreements completed||Negotiations are advanced. Final agreements expected by the end of 2009.|
|Water loss hotspot assessments completed||CSIRO developed a Technical Manual for Assessing Hotspots in Channel and Piped Irrigation Systems, achieving worlds-best practice standards. The Manual has been used as the framework for hotspots assessments by several private irrigation corporations across NSW and South Australia.|
|Improved water security and efficiency in Australian cities and towns
Improved water security and efficiency in Australian cities and towns
|National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns: funding has been approved and eleven projects are under way.|
|Specific project commitments are assessed, and commenced||National Urban Water and Desalination Plan: Funding has been approved for four projects.|
|Projects deliver water efficiencies and water savings||Water Smart Australia: 75 projects are approved, and approvals and funding agreements are in place. Since 2005, $1 billion has been spent.|
|Projects increase the percentage of water recycled||A competitive call for proposals has been launched under the National Urban Water and Desalination Plan, for major desalination, recycling and stormwater harvesting projects. Proposals were also assessed for the hosting of a Centre of Excellence in Water Recycling, which will be established in 2009-10.|
|Green Precincts projects demonstrate water and energy savings measures||Green Precinct projects were assessed and decisions have been made on allocation of funding. One project is already complete and a second project has commenced and on schedule to deliver water and energy savings.|
|Installation of rainwater and grey water systems
Projects deliver water savings and improved water security
|The surf life-saving club element of the program was launched in October 2008. Clubs can apply for grants of up to $10,000, to install rainwater tanks and other water saving and efficiency devices.
From March 2009 households can apply for rebates of up to $500 to purchase and install rainwater tanks or greywater systems.
|Uptake of smart technologies and practices
Ongoing program and component project management roles and responsibilities fulfilled
|Projects are reviewed monthly by the Water Group Executive.|
|Projects help to advance the National Water Initiative (NWI)||Projects are delivering major NWI outcomes, such as reducing the over-allocation of groundwater entitlements in NSW.|
|Projects deliver water savings or new sources of supply||Major projects have been substantially completed and are providing new sources of supply, such as the Western Corridor Recycling Scheme in South East Queensland, and the Goldfields Superpipe in Victoria. The Wimmera Mallee Pipeline in western Victoria is well advanced; it will save up to 100 gigalitres per year.|
|Removing barriers to water trading
Easier ability to trade in water entitlements
|The Water Market Rules 2009 and Water Charge (Termination Fee) Rules 2009, were introduced in June 2009.
All Basin states agreed to adopt maximum timeframes for processing allocation (temporary) and entitlement (permanent) trades, and to report publicly on their performance.
The Australian Government and Victoria reached an agreement to allow the Australian Government to pursue environmental water purchases above the four per cent limit in certain irrigation areas (expected to yield an additional 300 gigalitres of water entitlements to the Australian Government over five years from 2008-09). As part of the agreement, Victoria agreed to legislate to remove the 10% non-water user limit by 31 October 2009.
The Water Group also made substantial progress towards establishing the feasibility of a National Water Market System, to assist in the efficient management of water registry, transaction and market information functions.
|Promote appliance efficiency standards and labels
Supporting legislative frameworks are in Place
|The department has commenced review of legislative issues and this will feed into the legislated review of the overall WELS scheme.|
|Number of product registrations under the WELS Scheme||By the end of June 2009 there were more than 11 900 product models registered with the scheme.|
|Increased industry and consumer awareness of the WELS Scheme||A communication strategy is in place aimed at ensuring industry and consumer awareness, including: published fact sheets; a 1800 telephone number; a consumer product search database; and regular InkWELS bulletins.|
|Administered items||Budget 2008-09
|Actual Expenses 2008-09
|Appropriation Bill 1|
|Water for the future - Restoring the balance in the basin||2,201||590||1,611|
|Great Artesian Basin||295||273||22|
|Murray-Darling Basin Commission||4,999||11,969||(6,970)|
|Murray Environmental Flows||7,500||7,500||-|
|Water for the Future - Living Murray Initiative||20,061||-||20,061|
|Appropriation Bill 2|
|Great Artesian Basin||-||-||-|
|Water for the future - The living Murray||45,033||45,033||-|
|Water for the future - Restoring the balance in the basin||16,122||16,122||-|
|Sustainable Management of Water Resources||27,008||25,317||1,691|
|Subtotal for Output Group 3.1||123,219||106,804||16,415|
|Administered items|| Budget 2008-09
| Actual Expenses 2008-09
|Appropriation Bill 1|
|Water for the future - Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure||7,552||10,200||(2,648)|
|Water Resources Assessment||175||146||29|
|Water for the future - Water smart Australia||181,953||144,068||37,885|
|Tackling climate Change - Green Precincts||3,000||500||2,500|
|Water for the future - National Rainwater and Greywater Initiative||867||620||247|
|Water for the future - National Urban Water and Desalination Plan||8,703||4,000||4,703|
|Water for the future - National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns||1,350||350||1,000|
|Appropriation Bill 2|
|Water for the future - Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure||7,703||7,109||594|
|Water for the future - National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns||12,430||12,691||(261)|
|Water for the future - National Urban Water and Desalination Plan||26,797||6,000||20,797|
|Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (Administered)||3,149||1,714||1,435|
|Environmental Water Holdings (Administered)||152||134||18|
|Achieving Efficiencies in water use||37,936||35,561||2,375|
|Subtotal for Output Group 3.2||291,767||223,093||68,674|
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