Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure program
Water for the Future – Fact sheet
The $5.8 billion Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program (SRWUIP) is a national program which invests in rural water use, management and efficiency, including improved knowledge and market reform. Over $5.3 billion of this program is currently committed in the Murray-Darling Basin.
The aim of the program is to improve efficiency and productivity of rural water use and management, to deliver substantial and lasting water returns to the environment and to help secure a long-term sustainable future for irrigated agriculture through value for money projects. SRWUIP invests in a suite of diverse sub-programs and projects, including:
- planning, investigations and project design;
- modernisation and rationalisation works on irrigation systems off farm;
- on farm works to improve water use efficiency;
- works to improve ecological health and restore natural flows; and
- water saving municipal projects.
Fast flowing irrigation channel near Griffith, NSW
Water savings arising from SRWUIP investment in infrastructure efficiencies are shared between the irrigators/irrigation water providers and the Commonwealth (for environmental use). In the case of municipal projects, some water savings are retained for community benefit. It is anticipated that around 600 gigialitres of water savings in average annual yield terms will be recovered under SRWUIP for the Commonwealth for environmental use. The water savings will help to 'bridge the gap' between historical water use and the sustainable diversion limits under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
The largest component of SRWUIP is the State Priority Projects (SPPs) agreed under the Murray Darling Basin Intergovernmental Agreement 2008. The majority of the State Priority Projects are State led with two Commonwealth led projects: the Private Irrigation Infrastructure Operators Program in New South Wales (up to $650 million) and the Private Irrigation Infrastructure Program for South Australia (up to $110 million).
Other major SRWUIP projects include the On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program and the Strengthening Basin Communities Program.
A complete list of SRWUIP projects, including the State Priority Projects, is available at: Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure
Solar powered irrigation outlet gates near Griffith, NSW
- The $120.0 million South Australia Integrated Pipelines project has been completed: providing safe and reliable water supplies for communities adjacent to the Lower Lakes; sustaining Lower Lakes industries and communities; and supporting adaptive management of the Lower Lakes by removing the reliance of communities on the Lakes for their water supplies.
- Commonwealth-led programs involving on and off-farm infrastructure investment and community planning and water saving projects to improve water security in the Murray-Darling Basin are well underway. These programs include:
- Strengthening Basin Communities Program -To date grants to the value of $79 million have been offered to 99 projects under the program. Of the funded projects 55 have been completed with the remainder due to be completed by December 2013.
- On Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program - Rounds One and Two involve over 800 individual on-farm projects via local delivery partners.
- Private Irrigation Infrastructure Operators Program (NSW) - Nine projects have been approved for funding of around $642 million that improve the efficiency of irrigation systems and on-farm water use, through measures such as modernising irrigation channels, installing pumped pipeline systems and constructing secure stock and domestic water delivery systems.
- Private Irrigation Infrastructure Program (SA) - Thirteen projects with grant funding up to $14.4m under are underway or complete following Rounds One and Two of the program.
- Completion of the Western Australian and Tasmanian Sustainable Yields Assessments are providing an important basis for water resource planning, management and investment.
- Through the Small Block Irrigators Exit Assistance program, 297 irrigators were assisted to exit the industry, whilst retaining their family home and therefore remaining in their communities. Through the program 18.96GL of water (long term average annual yield) was recovered for the environment.
- In general Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure projects have demonstrated improved farm scale productivity benefits such as increased crop rotation ability, increased crop water use efficiencies, improved soil management, reduced maintenance and reduced weed control requirements. In addition, some projects have achieved greater than anticipated water savings, the benefit of which is retained by irrigators.
For more information
Contact the department on 1800 218 478 (toll free)