Under the Australian Government’s Interim Great Artesian Basin Infrastructure Investment Program, $8 million in federal funds will flow to projects aimed at conserving water – much of it for pastoral use in agriculture – across regional and remote areas of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
On 28 February 2018, the federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud announced that water-saving projects in NSW would be the first to secure funding under the Interim Program.
“From the $8 million fund, we’re putting $2.255 million into NSW projects and the state government has agreed to put in another $2.255 million,” he said. “The NSW Government will be responsible for on-the-ground delivery.”
NSW Minister for Regional Water Niall Blair noted that artesian bores and bore drains are vital to the pastoral industry across the state’s north-west, being the primary source of water in the region, and that artesian pressure has dropped dramatically over the past century.
“Under this Agreement, NSW will be able to work with landholders to rehabilitate high-priority artesian bores, which will provide clean, secure and reliable stock and domestic water to six large pastoral leases,” Mr Blair said.
“This project alone will save 2.3 gigalitres [2.3 billion litres] a year and is strategically targeted to restore artesian pressure at the ecologically important Great Artesian Basin natural springs.
“Similar projects that rehabilitate artesian bores have been extremely successful to date, making groundwater management in NSW more sustainable, and earning strong community support.
“We are pleased to continue to build on this successful work that improves on-farm productivity and protects our valuable groundwater reserves and landscapes.”Minister Littleproud said the Program was an interim measure set to end on 30 June 2019.
“With the end of round four of the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative (GABSI) in June 2017, this program will provide certainty to communities that rely on the Basin,” he contended.
“We will work side-by-side with communities and governments in the Basin to encourage further private investment in water-efficiency projects.
“The Great Artesian Basin supports industry worth nearly $13 billion a year, so it is vital that we make sure it continues to provide clean and reliable water for the future.”
For more information on the Interim Great Artesian Basin Infrastructure Investment Program, visit the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.