QUEENSLAND Murray–Darling Basin irrigators will soon be able to apply for a share of $31 million in Coalition Government funding to upgrade on-farm water infrastructure, under a new round of the Healthy HeadWaters programme.
Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of The Nationals, Barnaby Joyce, said irrigators could apply for grants to cover up to 90pc of the cost of installing more modern and efficient water infrastructure on their farms.
“The Coalition Government is committed to water saving measures that support triple bottom line outcomes for communities, irrigators and the environment,” Mr Joyce said.
“Findings from the Northern Basin Review undertaken by the Murray Darling Basin Authority showed that many small towns in southern Queensland had been heavily impacted by the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
“Irrigators who take part in these infrastructure programmes report significant benefits for their businesses, like the ability to grow a greater variety of higher-value crops, and increased farm productivity with greater yields.”
Member for Maranoa, David Littleproud, said irrigators would be able to retain 50pc of the water savings generated by their approved project, allowing them to bolster farm productivity and profitability.
“Importantly this round of Healthy Headwaters will be more flexible, allowing irrigators to offer water from a different water management area than where their approved project will be undertaken,” he said.
“What this means is that it will be easier for irrigators who hold properties and water across a few regions, such as the Lower Balonne and Condamine, to now to take part and contribute to the sustainably of the Basin.”
A Lower Balonne irrigator, Bill Knights, who took part in an earlier round of the program used Healthy HeadWaters funding for works to convert 160 hectares of fields to from siphon to a pipe-through-the-bank system and increase on-farm storage capacity by 638 megalitres.
“The change was about minimal labour and better crop yield. The fields are now better set up to be watered evenly and I can do it by opening a flapper at the top of the head drain. It takes me 10-15 minutes to water that area where before I was spending 45 minutes,” Mr Knights said.
Visit: dnrm.qld.gov.au/water/catchments-planning/healthy-headwaters/water-use-efficiency-project, email [email protected] or call 07 4529 1321.
Source: Deputy Prime Minister’s office