The projects, including solar-powered pumps to reduce energy costs and sprinklers that can adjust the amount of water applied to suit the soil type, are being rolled out in the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) region.
“More than 10,000 hectares of farm irrigation efficiency works are now under way across the region,” CMA chief executive Chris Norman said. “By round’s end, there will also be over 13 Gigalitres (GL) in water savings generated through these works - and it is great to see solar power making an appearance this round. Irrigators know they need to have their farms as efficient as possible to meet future water and energy challenges.”
He said irrigators who have completed projects claimed without the Farm Water Program, the works would not have been done.
Detailed analysis showed irrigators who had completed Farm Water Program funded works saw improved productivity of 2.3 tonnes of dry matter. That equated to a $280 gross margin, labour savings of $140 and 1.8 megalitres (ML) of water savings on average, per hectare per year.
Mr Norman said federal government funding supported Goulburn Murray irrigators and communities to adapt to meet the challenges and opportunities of changes in climate, water availability, land use and global pricing pressures.
“The increased farm productivity, water saved and resulting benefits for the environment are invaluable to the region,” he said.
“The modernisation of our region’s irrigation properties creates jobs, provides food security and bolsters irrigator confidence. Without these opportunities, our irrigated landscape would look vastly different and the future less secure.”
The Farm Water Program was also regularly reviewed.