$31.5 million to further improve on-farm irrigation efficiency

The Australian Government has renewed its commitment to the Murray-Darling Basin in South Australia by funding a further 122 projects to modernise on-farm irrigation infrastructure and return water to the environment.

The investment of $31.5 million will be delivered through a partnership with the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management (SAMDB NRM) Board as part of Round Four of the Government’s On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program.

Senator for South Australia Anne Ruston, announcing the partnership on behalf of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment Bob Baldwin, highlighted the importance of the $575 million On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program.

"The programme has played a crucial role in helping irrigation communities modernise and build their businesses and deliver a long-term sustainable future for our irrigation communities," Senator Ruston said.

"The project is expected to return water savings of around 14,300 megalitres, of which more than 9,326 megalitres will be returned to the environment.

"It is important our natural resources, such as water, are used efficiently and sustainably to ensure our world-renowned premium food and wine producers are here for generations to come."

The SAMDB NRM Board has been involved in all three rounds of the programme to date, with 293 irrigator sub-projects delivering a return of 11,245 megalitres of water to the environment.

Senator Ruston said the programme would help irrigators to convert from sprinkler to drip irrigation, modernise existing drip irrigation systems, laser level paddocks, or invest in automation, monitoring, and control technologies.

"Upgrading irrigation infrastructure not only saves water, but it also improves on-farm flexibility and increases crop quality and yield," Senator Ruston said.

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