The Hawkesbury Nepean River Recovery Project: Water Smart Farms Project Component

Funding: Up to $ 17,700,000 from the Australian Government.

About the project component

The Hawkesbury Nepean River Recovery Project - Water Smart Farms Project Component will increase the water use efficiency of irrigated agriculture across the Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment.

The initial focus will be on turf farms, field grown vegetable growers, nurseries (retrofit, reuse and scheduling) and greenhouse operations (reuse). The Project Component will then be opened up to other water users on a progressive basis subject to funding availability.

The Project Component includes three programs: sprinkler retrofitting or irrigation system upgrade, water harvesting /recycling and reuse, and an education and training component.

System retrofits and upgrades will range from changing the sprinkler heads on existing irrigation infrastructure to more significant changes in irrigation systems such as upgrading to drip (vegetable production), 'sub' watering (nurseries) and lateral move systems (turf).

Water harvesting/reuse will include water capture and storage works as well as disinfection/sterilisation systems as necessary in intensive greenhouse and nursery production systems.

Project benefits

The primary objective of this Project Component is to make 5.9 gigalitres per annum water savings on irrigated farms in the Sydney Basin, where 3.3 gigalitres per annum of entitlements will be secured for additional environmental flows in the Hawkesbury Nepean system.

The Project Component will also seek to:

  • improve irrigation efficiency of participating landholders to a benchmark of >85% efficiency
  • improve the knowledge and capacity of irrigators in the Sydney Basin to increase water use efficiency and to operate and maintain irrigation systems in a proper and efficient manner
  • improve nutrient management to reduce nitrogen export to the Hawkesbury Nepean river system by 11.8 tonnes per annum and phosphorus by 1.2 tonnes per annum.