Australian funds flow for irrigation projects
Grants totalling $4.6 million have been awarded to 14 irrigation water providers to develop modernisation plans for reducing water loss in the water infrastructure that they own and operate. Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Penny Wong said: “The purpose of the grants is to help these water providers identify and consider the range of options available to them to modernise their water delivery infrastructure.
“The water saved by modernising delivery infrastructure will be used to keep our rivers healthy. It can rejuvenate wetlands and floodplains, and help to conserve the native fish, plants and animals in our rivers, and reduce the risk of salinity and algal blooms.”
Senator Wong said the grants of up to $500,000 would allow water providers to obtain independent professional expertise and facilitate workshops to assist with modernisation planning. “For example, Southern Rural Water in Victoria’s Gippsland is receiving $500,000 to undertake an extensive study of the options to replace its 90 year old infrastructure with a modern supply system.”
“Tatalia Water Supply Incorporated, near Moama in NSW, is receiving $16,000 to develop a plan for replacing an old existing pipe and open earth channel distribution system with a fully piped delivery system.
“The scope of the modernisation plans will suit the conditions in each irrigation district. I expect each modernisation plan to consider issues affecting the individual irrigation district in a strategic and integrated manner. Consultation with stakeholders, including irrigators and the wider community, is essential to this process.
“An example of this is the North and South Burdekin Water Boards in Queensland, which are working together to undertake an assessment of its current water delivery systems and the efficiency of local water use, as well as an analysis of alternative infrastructure and the type of crops grown in the area.”
Senator Wong said successfully obtaining Irrigation Modernisation Planning Assistance does not guarantee funding for on-ground infrastructure work. “A separate application and assessment process will be undertaken in relation to on-ground infrastructure works, the details of which will be released soon,” she said.