Dept. of Agriculture and Water Resources: water infrastructure in the context of the National Water Initiative

Tony Bigwood of the Dept. of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) speaks about water infrastructure in the context of the National Water Initiative at the 2016 World Water Congress and Exhibition, Brisbane, Australia.


The National Water Initiative is the overarching policy framework that identifies how water in Australia should be managed. In terms of infrastructure. It has two principal components

  • Water infrastructure costs should be integrated into pricing structure; and
  • How to fix infrastructure that no longer functions.

Funds are available for the Murray Darling Basin infrastructure programs, which are providing $8 billion over 2010-2024 to support farming efficiency and restore basin health. The National Water Infrastructure Development Fund is for new developments to improve efficiency, with $59 million available for feasibility studies and $450 million for construction. Funds are also available as loans through the National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility. Note that it costs $8 billion to fix an inefficient situation and only $450 to set something up correctly in the first instance. Getting it right the first time is far preferable and much more affordable.

On-farm Irrigation Efficiency program has provided $626 million over eight years from 2009, with strong results social, economic, and ecological results. An estimated 100 GL of water has been recovered from 1500 irrigation properties. They can now, over the long term, produce the same amount of food with less amount of water, with a markedly positive impact.

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