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Government programs for irrigation modernisation and efficiency

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Water for the Future is the Australian government’s initiative to ensure sustainable water supply is available despite the drying climate and rising demand for water.

The initiative has four important priorities; acting on climate change, the wise use of water, securing water supplies and supporting healthy rivers.

There are several elements within the Water for the Future initiative, one of which is the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure program. Under this program the government aims to focus investment on key rural water projects that sustain communities reliant on irrigation, improving and upgrading old and leaking irrigation systems.

Irrigation Modernisation Planning Assistance

Assists irrigation water providers to advance irrigation modernisation plans for local districts as well as improve irrigation infrastructure. This program will also help these water providers to establish options for adopting a future with less water. Application closing date is 29 October 2012 or may close if funds are allocated further.

On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program

Although applications are now closed, this program aims to assist irrigators in the Lachlan and southern connected system of the Murray-Darling Basin. The program will help them to upgrade on-farm irrigation infrastructure, giving any water savings back to the environment.

Private Irrigation Infrastructure Program for South Australia

Thirteen grants have been approved un the Private Irrigation Infrastructure Program for South Australia program, with funds going towards irrigation infrastructure efficiency improvements for Murray-Darling Basin operators in South Australia. The chosen projects were selected as they were able to show merit in helping to improve the efficiency and environmental benefits of irrigation water use and management.

Restoring the Balance in the Murray-Darling Basin – Queensland Lower Baloone water entitlement purchase tender

This water purchase program aims to help the Australian government tackle the effects of climate change, drought and over-allocation on the Murray-Darling Basin’s rivers, communities and ecosystems. Applicants should read the relevant guidelines document associated with this tender.

Applications should be submitted no later than 5:00pm AEDT on Friday 9th December 2011.

There is also an opportunity for Irrigator-led Group Proposals as the Australian government acknowledges that groups of irrigators may wish to develop coordinated proposals for selling their water entitlements.

For full details of all the grants, funding and programs available please visit the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities website.

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