Waterway

Irrigators urged to update Whole Farm Plans for Round 3

Wednesday 23 May, 2012
Irrigators are encouraged to ensure their Whole Farm Plans are up-to-date in light of the Federal Government's recent announcement calling for Round 3 On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program (OFIEP) applications.

Irrigators are encouraged to ensure their Whole Farm Plans are up-to-date in light of the Federal Government's recent announcement calling for Round 3 On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program (OFIEP) applications.

The Farm Water Program consortium, led by the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA), has so far secured $43 million through Rounds 1 and 2 of the OFIEP and will be putting in an application for Round 3 funding.

An additional $16 million was secured for the Farm Water Program from the Northern Victorian Irrigation Renewal Project (Round 1) and $43 million from the Department of Sustainability and Environment's On-Farm State Priority Projects initiative (Round 2) bringing the total program funding to $105 million.

Goulburn Broken CMA CEO Chris Norman said 149 projects had been funded though Round 1 of the Farm Water Program and recently it was announced another 230 projects would be funded through Round 2.

"Together these programs will save about 52GL of water with at least half of these savings transferred to the Australian or State Government for environmental purposes," Mr Norman said.

Mr Norman said demand by irrigators in the first two rounds had been very high and available funds were oversubscribed.

"It's clear there is a huge amount of interest among farmers to improve their on-farm irrigation practices and modernise their farm irrigation systems," Mr Norman said.  "If our application to the Federal Government is successful, we expect to call for registrations of interest from eligible landowners mid to late 2012."

Mr Norman said he expected eligibility criteria for potential Round 3 projects would be similar to Round 2.

"Therefore, to ensure proposed on-farm projects meet eligibility criteria and can be considered for funding through Round 3, we encourage irrigators to prepare or revisit their current Whole Farm Plan now," he said.  "As irrigators will also need to be on a backbone channel or have a connections agreement with NVIRP, they should also talk to NVIRP."

Mr Norman said he was pleased the Federal Government had also indicated there would be further OFIEP funding rounds following this Round 3 announcement.

"The program is clearly a win for the environment, irrigators and the community," Mr Norman said.  "It complements the NVIRP modernisation of the irrigation delivery system; the water savings are returned to the environment to boost river health and water quality; and it creates jobs and attracts investment to this region."

Irrigators must contact Department of Primary Industries before commencing development of Whole Farm Plans to see if there are any Whole Farm Plan grant funds available in their area.

 

For media-related enquiries, please contact Fiona Lloyd, Goulburn Broken CMA Farm Water Program Communications Officer on 5820 1147 or email fional@gbcma.vic.gov.au