Many Northern Victorian irrigators are seeing the benefits of on-farm water efficiency works thanks to the Farm Water Program and funding from the Victorian Coalition Government.
The program provides funding to help irrigators invest in on-farm irrigation works to achieve water savings - works that otherwise might have taken a lifetime to save for and complete.
Visiting a north Mooroopna property near Shepparton today, Water Minister Peter Walsh said around 96 on-farm projects were already completed.
“Many farmers are already reaping the rewards of the upgrades with maximised production and water savings,” Mr Walsh said.
“At least 18 gigalitres of water savings will be generated as a result of the first round of on-farm irrigation projects, with 50 per cent directed to improve the health of waterways.
“These works show how on a small scale, water could be saved for the environment through works and measures in the Murray-Darling Basin system, rather than stripping farming communities of their water and livelihood.
“The Victorian Government has continually pushed the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to include Basin works and measures in its water savings calculations to achieve end-of-system flows and environmental benefits without taking water from irrigators.
“The revised Basin Plan released yesterday again failed regional communities by not taking this into account.”
Mr Walsh said the Victorian Government would continue to push the Gillard Government to provide funding for environmental works and measures, not buybacks.
A majority of the Farm Water Program works complement the ongoing Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District network modernisation, such as laser grading, fast flow irrigation, pipes and riser systems, channel upgrades, drainage reuse and irrigation scheduling.
“The water savings generated and retained by irrigators represent a reinvestment in their farm business and help to support the entire Goulburn Murray Irrigation District.
“Increased on-farm irrigation efficiency means less water getting to the watertable, reducing the likelihood of waterlogging and land salinisation,” Mr Walsh said.
Projects in the Farm Water Program are delivered through a consortium led by Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority. Round One attracted $21 million from the Australian Government On Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program and the Victorian Government contributed a further $16 million from the Northern Victorian Irrigation Renewal Project.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
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