A Northern Victorian consortium secured more than $170 million from the Australian Government’s On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program ($46 million); the figure comprised funding from Victorian Government’s NVIRP ($16 million); the Victorian On Farm State Priority Projects initiative ($43 million); and the Victorian Farm Modernisation Project ($70 million). The consortium administered the program through its Farm Water Program to assist irrigators to achieve water savings by improving on-farm irrigation systems. At least half the water saved was transferred to the Australian or Victorian governments for environmental purposes.
Victorian Farm Modernisation Project – ceased
The Victorian Government has announced it will no longer fund on-farm works which involve a transfer of water, following a report of the on-farm water program review. The report recommended against further funding of on-farm works as part of the Murray Darling Basin Plan. The review assessed the transfer of productive water from irrigation and concerns over negative impacts on irrigating communities. It found that further on-farm works, which involved the transfer of water to the Commonwealth, would have negative social and economic outcomes for irrigators and broader communities.The Farm Water Program consortium members will continue to work together to support irrigators and regional jobs and are looking at ways to develop and fund a program that will increase farm water efficiency without water transfer.
Support for irrigators to think through how to adapt their farm business and property in response to reduced water availability, supply modernisation and other drivers of change is available through the Plan2Farm and the current whole farming planning programs accessible through the Goulburn Broken and North Central CMAs.
Farm Water Program Consortium Partners
The current Farm Water Program Consortium Partners include:
Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority