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Report
Re-plumbing irrigation in the
Murray Darling Basin; an analysis
of five years of Australian
Government investment
Richard McLoughlin
Murray Darling Basin Plan
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.
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”
3,200
GL
Up by as much as 450 GL
('efficiency measures' with no adverse
effect on social or economic outcomes)
3000
2,750
GL
Down by as much as 650 GL
('supply measures' that achieve
environmental outcomes with less water)
2500
Application of SDL
Adjustment Mechanism
in 2016
Any shortfall below 650 GL will be
recovered from 2016
2,100
2000
Indicative residual purchasing needed to
reach 2,100 GL
Indicative future infrastructure* yield
Contracted SRWUIP and SARMSP
infrastructure* recoveries
1500
1000
500
Held
environmental
water*
1,900 GL contracted
recoveries
which count
towards
'bridging the
gap' to the
SDLs
Contracted purchases
and
other Commonwealth recoveries
State recoveries 166 GL
0
Total estimated
infrastructure yield
SRWUIP Infrastructure

The majority of rural water infrastructure funds
have been committed to projects in the MurrayDarling Basin for improving the operation of offfarm 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.
SRWUIP Infrastructure
SRWUIP Infrastructure
State Priority
Projects (up to $3.2b)
State led projects
Victoria $1,103m
South Australia
$420m
Queensland $160m
New South Wales $708m
Australian Capital Territory
$85m
Other commitments
include:
Commonwealth led
projects
NSW Private Irrigation
Infrastructure Operators
Program
South Australia Private
Irrigation Infrastructure
Program
On-Farm Irrigation
Efficiency $450m
Strengthening Basin
Communities
Irrigation in Tasmania
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
Analysis of SRWUIP investment in Centre Pivots
• Initial analysis of 130 centre pivot irrigators funded under SRWUIP.
• In general, costs decrease with increased area under irrigation.
State
Pivots
funded
Average Area
Irrigated (Ha)
Total Area
Irrigated (Ha)
Capital Cost
(GST excl)
Cost/Ha
Irrigated
Qld HHW
9
69
618
$1,574,388
$2,546
NSW PIIOP
9
55
499
$1,858,640
$3,722
Vic Farm
Mod
13
51
667
$2,650,155
$3,973
OFIEP Rd 1
35
50
1,760
$5,555,172
$3,157
OFIEP Rd 2
64
45
2,892
$9,791,606
$3,386
Total
130
50
6,437
$21,429,911
$3,329
Cost of Centre Pivot Irrigators funded under SRWUIP
$14,000
OFIEP Rd 2
$12,000
Qld HHW
Capital Cost ($/Ha)
$10,000
$8,000
Cost/Ha Irrigated
Average
$6,000
Power (Cost/Ha Irrigated)
$4,000
Vic Farm Mod
$2,000
y = 33227x-0.594
R² = 0.5203
$0
50
100
150
200
Area under irrigation (Ha)
250
300
350
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.
Trangie-Nevertire Irrigation Scheme
•
Irrigation cooperative in NSW
Macquarie River catchment
•
Targeted “whole of system”
approach to channel
distribution system and onfarm water loss.
•
Returned water savings to the
Commonwealth of nearly
30GL.
•
Reduced ‘boom or bust’
extremes of water supply
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
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.
Questions & Discussion

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