On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program (OFIEP)

Background

The On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program (OFIEP) is an Australian Government initiative, as part of the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program, which is aimed at assisting irrigators within the southern connected system of the Murray-Darling Basin to modernise their on-farm irrigation infrastructure while returning water savings to the environment. OFIEP commenced in 2009 and has now been completed.

Our role as a key Delivery in OFIEP

With our professional and highly diverse team we were chosen as a key Delivery Partner in securing funding available from the On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program (OFIEP) to irrigators.

We delivered projects to assist irrigators in adapting to the future with reduced water availability due to climate change and drought conditions. Projects delivered included upgrades to existing systems and conversion to new irrigation practices, enabling irrigators to reduce water losses and manage water allocation more efficiently.

Our success  

We facilitated the successful delivery of over $67 million in project funding to irrigators in South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria, providing benefits to irrigators, their communities and the environment.

We successfully bid for OFIEP funding totalling $46.8 million to support 24 on-farm projects involving:

  • redesigning infrastructure to improve surface irrigation systems
  • upgrades to bankless channels, flood layouts, drainage and reuse systems, and
  • upgrades to spray irrigation and direct delivery irrigation.

To date, 78 percent of this funding has been delivered across the 24 projects. The completion of these projects is expected to save 31 GL with approximately 17.5 GL to be returned to the Commonwealth for environmental use.

We delivered $11.5 million across 19 projects in Round 3 of OFIEP. The projects included laser grading and irrigation infrastructure upgrades and/or design projects through New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia to support farmers.

A further $6.2 million was delivered across 20 projects in Round 4 of OFIEP. The projects undertaken in that round included:

  • system redesign
  • installation of moisture monitoring probes, and pipe and riser systems
  • laser levelling to surface flood irrigation, and
  • upgrades to surface and sub surface drop irrigation methods.

In total, the OFIEP projects we have managed are expected to save over 45 GL of water, with approximately 27 GL of water being returned to the Commonwealth for environmental use.

Savings will be gained through activities including:

  • laser grading which increase efficiencies in water use and reduces the instances of pooling and water wastage
  • fitting variable speed pumps which reduces the power required per ML pumped
  • installation of irrigation monitoring sensors resulting in water efficiencies
  • upgrading drainage water recycling systems, and
  • enclosing pipes and riser systems which reduce farm evaporation and seepage

EXPECTED TO SAVE OVER 45 GL OF WATER

Our clients say

The following is an individual irrigator’s story that highlights the success of OFIEP.

Dehne Vinnicombe, Dairy Farmer, Jarlkin, Victoria

Dehne’s project was approved under Round 3 of OFIEP through Waterfind’s sub-project: Laser grading and irrigation infrastructure upgrade and redesign.

Dehne and the contractors worked hard (including in very hot conditions) finishing all the landforming, completing the re-use system and installing new channels.

Benefits of Dehne’s project include:

  • increased production and reduced irrigation (11.6ML/ha to 8.7ML/ha)
  • water savings of 2.9ML/ha across all fields, and
  • a re-use system that allows the capture and reuse of runoff

Dehne has returned 218ML of water to the Commonwealth for environmental use.

Dehne speaks highly of the program and recommends to others to participate in any similar programs that may be offered in the future.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or would like to be contacted by one of our brokers, please send us an email with your details.