Sustaining the Murray-Darling Basin
New South Wales received in-principle approval in July 2008 for $1.358 billion in Australian Government funding for a suite of possible water saving projects for the Murray-Darling Basin.
On 4 June 2012, the Australian Government signed the deeds for four state priority projects in NSW that will see approximately $500 million invested across the state to help bridge or reduce the gap in the water required to meet the sustainable diversion limits in the Basin Plan.
Media release 10 June 2012 | NSW secures $500 million for landmark water savings push (PDF 155 KB).
On 24 June 2013, the Australian Government approved a further $180 million for the Nimmie-Caira System Enhanced Environmental Water Delivery Project.
Commonwealth funding is provided under the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure program which is a component of the Commonwealth's Water for the Future initiative. The Water Management Partnership Agreement and associated schedules outline the objective and commitments in that agreement.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (Office of Water) is the lead agency for Basin Pipe, Nimmie Caira and Healthy Floodplains projects, State Water Corporation will lead the rollout of the Metering project, and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (Agriculture) is rolling out the Irrigated Farm Modernisation project.
These projects will be implemented over the period from 2012 to 2018.
The Basin Pipe project will replaces wasteful replenishment systems, open drains, channels and dams with pipeline schemes to provide farmers with improvements and more efficient supplies of stock and domestic water. The Basin Pipe is a $137 million water efficiency infrastructure project, not a buyback scheme. The 38 gigalitres of water efficiency gains from the project will deliver additional water to the inland rivers of NSW for the aquatic environment.
Landholders who currently obtain stock and domestic water supplies from the NSW inland rivers can apply for a modern and efficient water supply scheme to meet their current and future water requirements. Pumps, pipes, tanks, troughs and associated infrastructure will be supplied in exchange for water savings.
The program is jointly funded by the NSW Office of Water and the Commonwealth, with the Office of Water responsible for delivering the project.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries (Agriculture) will implement this $83 million project by investing in management, information and technological farm infrastructure. This will improve water use efficiency, water savings, and increase water related productivity in irrigated farming systems. More information on an irrigation infrastructure modernisation initiative for New South Wales.
The metering of all water extractions using appropriate technology is fundamental to ensure sustainable water management in the NSW Murray-Darling Basin. The NSW metering scheme for regulated rivers, unregulated rivers and groundwater sources ($221 million) will upgrade meters on the regulated rivers and install or upgrade meters on the groundwater and unregulated rivers.
The Office of Water has carried out a socio-economic assessment to identify the impact of having meters in the Murray-Darling Basin - The NSW Metering Project – socio-economic assessment (PDF 12 MB). Read the business case (PDF 4.8 MB) prepared for the NSW Metering Project which combines Regulated River Metering, Groundwater and Unregulated River Metering into a single project.
Water NSW (formerly State Water Corporation) is rolling out this project having already undertaken a successful pilot project in the NSW Murray valley.
An independent verification of water savings achieved under the pilot project was undertaken by a consultant. This work evaluated the manner in which the amount of water being taken was determined before and after the roll-out of new meters, and assessed the accuracy of old and new meters.
- Independent Verification and Assessment of Actual Water Savings Achieved by the NSW Metering Scheme Murray Pilot Project (PDF 4.6 MB)
NSW Office of Water has a different view to the consultant over the manner in which the meter inaccuracy can be quantified as an amount that can be transferred to the Federal Government as an additional water saving.
- NSW Office of Water response to Independent Verification and Assessment of Actual Water Savings Achieved by the NSW Metering Scheme Murray Pilot Project (PDF 33 KB)
For more information on the metering scheme visit the Water NSW website.
The Healthy Floodplains project will reform the management of water on floodplains through the modification of floodplain structures and extraction control. Up to $50 million has been allocated for this project. The NSW Office of Water has released a floodplain harvesting policy.
The Australian Government will work with NSW irrigator groups to manage private infrastructure upgrades with about $650 million proposed for water saving upgrades of private infrastructure.
The Nimmie-Caira Project is a significant water recovery project funded by the Australian Government. Under this project, $180 million will be provided to NSW to purchase land and water entitlements in the Nimmie-Caira area and to undertake extensive infrastructure works to enhance environmental water delivery.
The project will develop long term land management arrangements to care for the environmental and cultural heritage values of the area. The water entitlements will be transferred to the Commonwealth for environmental use, making a significant contribution towards 'bridging the gap' to the sustainable diversion limits under the Basin Plan.
- Media release 4 July 2013 | Nimmie-Caira project approved (PDF 147 KB)