Senator Wong made the announcement in Moree, on day one of a three-day tour of the northern Murray-Darling Basin.
“These pilot projects will provide the Government with a good testing ground for investing in on-farm irrigation infrastructure to use water more efficiently,” Senator Wong said.
“In exchange for investment in on‑farm infrastructure, the successful recipients have agreed to give a proportion of their water entitlements to the Australian Government.
“This is expected to see nearly 2000 megalitres of water returned to the Murray-Darling Basin’s stressed rivers and wetlands.
“This investment is part of the Australian Government's $12.9 billion Water for the Future plan, which aims to secure the water supplies of all Australians as we deal with the effects of climate change and drought.”
The three projects to be funded are:
* Border Rivers-Gwydir Catchment Management Authority to receive almost $2.8 million for sub-surface irrigation conversion – resulting in an estimated 400 megalitres of water including high security water returned to rivers and wetlands;
* Lachlan Catchment Management Authority to receive almost $1.5 million for projects including upgrading on‑farm flood irrigation to sprinkler irrigation and using centre pivots – resulting in an estimated 1000 megalitres of water returned to rivers and wetlands; and
* Murray Irrigation Limited to receive up to $1.3 million for projects including upgrading existing flood, spray and drip irrigation systems – resulting in an estimated 566 megalitres of water returned to rivers and wetlands.
“The On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency (Pilot Projects) Program is part of the $5.8 billion Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure component of Water for the Future,” Senator Wong said.
“The experience and information gained from these projects will help the Rudd Government implement other programs, including $3.7 billion in priority project funding for state governments and private irrigation water providers to implement major water projects in the Murray-Darling Basin.”