The Healthy HeadWaters Water Use Efficiency Project - frequently asked questions

What is the Healthy HeadWaters Water Use Efficiency Project?

The Healthy HeadWaters Water Use Efficiency Project is a Queensland State Priority Project agreed to by the Australian and Queensland governments at the July 2008 Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting. The Project is funded by the Australian Government as part of the $5.8 billion Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program.

The Healthy HeadWaters Water Use Efficiency Project is designed to assist irrigation farmers in the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin through investing in efficient irrigation systems and technologies that reduce water loss, deliver long-term social and economic benefits, and return a share of water savings to the Basin's rivers, wetlands and floodplains.

The Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM) is the State agency responsible for implementing the Project.

How much funding is available to Queensland Murray-Darling Basin irrigators?

Under the first phase of the $154.9 million Healthy HeadWaters Water Use Efficiency Project, the Australian Government provided over $24.9 million to the Queensland Government to undertake two Rounds of on-farm irrigation efficiency improvements and supporting projects.

Up to $130 million in funding will be made available for Phase 2 of the project to enable up to nine Rounds of on-farm irrigation efficiency improvements, helping both irrigation communities and the environment.

Please visit this website on a regular basis for further updates relating to Phase 2 of the Healthy HeadWaters Water Use Efficiency Project.

Am I eligible to apply?

Irrigators holding tradeable surface water entitlement in eligible Queensland Murray-Darling Basin catchments are eligible to apply for funding to improve the efficiency of their on-farm irrigation infrastructure. DNRM will list the eligible Queensland Murray-Darling Basin catchments on their website prior to each Round of on-farm works.

In return for Australian Government investment in projects, applicants are required to share at least half of the project water savings to be acquired with the Australian Government for environmental priorities. Water savings nominated by applicants for permanent transfer must be an unencumbered, tradeable surface allocation, and may be supplemented or un-supplemented.

When can I apply?

Rounds under Phase 1 of the Project are closed for applications. Phase 2, consisting of up to nine Rounds of on-farm works, commenced in September 2012. DNRM will be running two Rounds of on-farm works per year.

Visit the DNRM website for information and timing of future funding rounds.

What types of irrigation infrastructure upgrades are eligible for funding?

The type of work proposed is up to the landholder, depending on what suits their property and situation. Potential work could include improvements to: irrigation distribution systems (e.g. converting open channels to pipes); water storages; or in-field irrigation systems (e.g. converting from flood irrigation to centre pivot / lateral move).

Who will assess my proposal?

The Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM) will receive and assess applications. Once DNRM has completed its assessment of the proposals it receives through its open tender process, they will then submit your proposal along with other recommended proposals, to the Australian Government Department of the Environment (the Department) for further consideration.

The Department will then review each application to ensure it provides social, economic and environmental benefit as well as acceptable value for money. The Department will also consider the social and economic benefits of the package of proposed works as a whole at a regional level, as well as its capacity for delivering Australian Government priorities for water management within the Murray-Darling Basin.

What involvement will I have with the Australian Government?

If your application is successful, the Australian Government will undertake a due diligence assessment of the water entitlement offered by you for transfer, checking to verify the details on your application are correct and that there are no undisclosed factors that may impact the transfer. Following this, you will be required to enter into and complete a 'water transfer deed' with the Australian Government in order to permanently transfer your nominated water entitlement.

You will also need to enter into a separate 'works agreement' with DNRM to document the work to be completed and the payment of funds that will be made to you through the Queensland State Government.

How do I get involved?

The Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines is managing the Healthy HeadWaters Water Use Efficiency Project. You can access further details on the Project, including an information guide, application form and application guidelines, by visiting the Healthy HeadWaters program website.