Water for the Future – Fact sheet
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, January 2011
Irrigation infrastructure in Shepparton, Victoria
Photo: E Begley
The Australian Government is meeting the challenges of water scarcity and climate change through long-term strategic investment in the Water for the Future initiative - one of the largest adjustment packages in Australia's history.
A major component of Water for the Future is the $5.8 billion Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure program, helping farmers make better use of water by upgrading their irrigation infrastructure and assisting communities to address the impact of climate change by securing their long term water supplies.
The aim of the program is to improve efficiency and productivity of rural water use and management, to deliver substantial and lasting water returns to the environment and to help secure a long-term sustainable future for irrigated agriculture through value for money projects.
The major programs and projects under the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure program include:
Fifteen State Priority Projects agreed with the Murray-Darling Basin states under the 2008 Intergovernmental agreement on Murray-Darling Basin Reform, including
two Commonwealth-led programs:
- Private Irrigation Infrastructure Operators Program (PIIOP) in NSW – up to $650 million for NSW private operators to modernise and upgrade irrigation infrastructure to help reduce water losses, create jobs and help support vibrant farming communities across the state. Current investment includes $162 million across the Macquarie River catchment and $101 million for the Murrumbidgee River catchment for irrigation infrastructure projects, which together will save up to 69 billion litres of water entitlements for environmental use.
- Private Irrigation Infrastructure Program for South Australia – up to $110 million for South Australian infrastructure projects to improve the efficiency and productivity of irrigation water use and management. Water savings generated through the program will be shared between irrigators and the environment.
On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program – $300 million to help irrigators in the Lachlan and southern connected system of the Basin improve the efficiency and productivity of their on-farm irrigation. Water savings generated through the program will be shared between the irrigator and environment.
Up to $100 million is available for the six successful delivery partners under Round One of the program to manage projects on up to 400 farms.
Strengthening Basin Communities program – $200 million in grants for local governments and urban water service providers in the Murray-Darling Basin to help community-wide planning for a future with less water as well as water saving initiatives.
Irrigation channel in Shepparton, Victoria
Photo: E Begley
Menindee Lakes Project – up to $400 million to reduce evaporation and improve water efficiency at Menindee Lakes, secure Broken Hill's water supply, protect the local environment and heritage values, and return up to 200 billion litres of water to the environment.
Supporting more efficient irrigation in Tasmania
Under the National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on Water for the Future the Australian Government has committed to provide up to $140 million towards supporting more efficient irrigation in Tasmania.
Irrigation Modernisation Planning Assistance – to help irrigation water providers develop plans for their districts and assess options to adapt to a future with less water, including planning for infrastructure rationalisation and renewal.
Non-urban water metering - nationally consistent non-urban water meter standards introduced from 1 July 2010 to more accurately measure the water used from river and groundwater systems. This will assist water managers and users identify areas where efficiency can be improved and minimise water lost through delivery systems.
Harvey Pipeline project
The Australian Government has provided funding to replace open channel irrigation delivery infrastructure within the Harvey irrigation district with a fully integrated piped system. Water savings from the project, which is complete, have been traded to the Perth integrated water supply system.
Gascoyne Pipeline project
The Australian Government is providing funding of up to $6.6 million toward construction of a highpressure irrigation water delivery system throughout the Carnarvon Irrigation Area in Western Australia, to produce a more efficient irrigation distribution system. Best practice metering and telemetry controls are being installed, and an online water accounting, consumption and reporting system will be implemented.
Lithgow-Clarence Colliery Water Transfer project
The Australian Government is providing funding of up to $4 million to upgrade the Clarence Water Transfer System, allowing the increased use of excess water from Clarence Colliery. The project will improve the security of Lithgow's water supply by supplementing potable water supplies and offsetting water that would ordinarily be drawn from Oberon Dam.
For more information
Contact the department on 1800 218 478 (toll free)