At the conclusion of Round 3 of the Australian Governments On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program (OFIEP), Waterfind have distributed over $60 million in Australian Government funding over Rounds 3, 4 and 5. Efficiencies gained through the program have resulted in a return of over 28GL of water for environmental use. The program has delivered significant benefits across all scales of projects, from family farms to large agribusiness developments.
ROUND 5 ROLLS OUT
Positive outcomes for participants in previous Rounds encouraged Waterfind to again apply as a delivery partner for Round 5 of the OFIEP.
With two rounds of funding released, Waterfind secured over $51 million of Australian Government funding for its proponents. The first tranche of sub-projects commenced works in January 2016 and despite extended rain, we have witnessed a large amount of development in the first 12 months. The second tranche of projects are currently being implemented and works will commence shortly. Projects must be completed by December 2018.
It is anticipated that over 19GL of water savings will be returned to the environment through this Round and a further 13GL of savings will be realised by the participants.
Project works include:
- Flood layout upgrade
- Spray conversion
- Drip system redevelopment
ROUND 3 HAS BEEN COMPLETED
All Round 3 work of the OFIEP program has been completed. As a delivery partner, Waterfind oversaw the distribution of more than $12.5 million of Australian Government funding, which saw nearly 6GL of water returned to the environment.
In line with the organisation’s strategic mission to ‘increase the wealth of regional Australia’, it was important to be involved in the OFIEP and further support our customers. It has increased irrigators’ sustainability via operational and system improvements, which include water efficiency gains, a portion of which were returned to the environment.
OFIEP program participants have reported the following benefits;
- increased crop yields and productivity in the initial irrigation after project completion
- greater flexibility in property layouts
- ability to diversify crops to make the most out of every season
Waterfind worked with Dehne Vinnicombe, a Dairy farmer located near Jarklin in Victoria, in Round 3 of the OFIEP. His project saw the conversion of 147Ha into efficient fast flow layouts with improved drainage and reuse capabilities. The project aimed to reduce water use by an average of 2.9ML/Ha. After the project returned estimated water savings of 50%, Mr Vinnicombe returned 218ML to the environment.
Upon completion of the improvements, Mr Vinnicombe said that the project had benefited both his business and the local community, as he was able to engage local contractors for the construction work.
Overall, participation in the program for the Vinnicombe family has seen the expansion of the family business and extended its viability for the future. Mr Vinnicombe also noted that over the last 3 years they have doubled their milk production.
“The funding allowed us to do all the work in one hit without effecting our cash flow. If we didn’t have access to this funding we would have done the works over time. The program allowed us to do the upgrade properly to the highest standard.”
Mr Dehne Vinnicombe (OFIEP Round 3)
“This farm will be more productive from the work done, which in turn will result in a bigger turnover. I’ll be able to employ more staff in the long-term.”
Mr Russell Bott (OFIEP Round 4)
ROUND 4 IS NEARING COMPLETION!
The Round 4 program is now 85% complete and the remaining Waterfind projects will be finished by September 2017. At the conclusion of the program, Waterfind will have distributed over $8 million of Australian Government funding to OFIEP projects.
The fourth Round of funding presented more challenges than previous rounds. Poor weather, shorter timelines and a strengthening water market effected the feasibility of the program. In some cases, delays due to construction timing coupled with extended wet periods reduced the window of opportunity for developments.
Despite these challenges, the benefits of upgrades have been fully realised following completion. Proponent Russell Bott believes there is increased opportunity for his business in the long-term, “This has been a real boost for my business and also the positive comments from the community.”
COME TO THE OFIEP FIELD DAY!
Waterfind will be hosting an On-Farm Field Day at the property of David Shelmerdine 15 minutes’ drive from Mathoura NSW on 5 April 2017. Mr Shelmerdine of Laradoc Pty Ltd has received funding under the OFIEP program in Rounds 4 and 5 to complete four projects on his property outside of Mathoura.
Laradoc Pty Ltd is a privately-owned agribusiness company with interests in the pastoral, livestock and viticulture sectors. The properties are part of the Moira Private Irrigation Trust delivery system and in total the improvement projects have saved 743.1ML, returning 565ML to the environment.
Works have included both surface irrigation upgrades as well as conversion from flood to spray irrigation installing two lateral pivot irrigators, one centre pivot irrigator and one border check.
The Field Day, running from 10am to 2pm with catering provided, offers a great opportunity to view the benefits participation in the OFIEP can deliver first-hand. There are limited spaces. Please RSVP by March 31 to secure your spot.