The Coalition Government is calling on irrigators, industry and potential delivery agencies to have their say on the design of a new on-farm irrigation efficiency programme.
In launching the Commonwealth On-Farm Further Irrigation Efficiency (COFFIE) programme, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Farrer MP, Sussan Ley, note this is the first in the next generation of Commonwealth initiatives to support on-farm water use efficiency across the Basin.
“It’s a chance for those with an interest in water savings to have their say and help design the look of this important programme, ensuring it best meets their needs,” Minister Joyce said.
“The programme will run until 2024, and provides funding to help irrigators modernise on-farm irrigation infrastructure, increasing efficiency and flexibility in water use on-farm and delivering environmental benefits.”
“We also expect it to accept smaller projects with a minimum of 10 megalitres in water savings and propose that any application which meets the criteria can be accepted and approved any time, rather than running competitive funding rounds.”
Ms Ley said “I encourage my local irrigators to get involved in shaping the design of COFFIE. Importantly, while minimum water savings from projects will be returned to the environment, additional water savings will be retained by the irrigator.”
Amendments made to the Water Act 2007 require an additional 450 gigalitres in water savings (on top of the 2750 gigalitre target) to be made, provided they are neutral or improve social and economic outcomes – and constraints in delivery for the additional water savings can be overcome.
The amendments also include a legislated commitment of $1.8 billion to achieve
the additional water savings. The next generation of on-farm irrigation efficiency programmes being developed is funded from this commitment.
To find out more and have your say on the design of the COFFIE programme…
– visit www.environment.gov.au/water/rural-water/coffie/consultation
– contact the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on 1800 218 478
– or email [email protected]