Applications for the Off-farm Efficiency Grants Program are now closed. To find out more, visit https://business.gov.au/ofegp.
The Off-farm Efficiency Program is a $1.54 billion program designed to invest in infrastructure and provide water for the environment.
Projects funded under the program will provide long-term benefits to irrigators by improving infrastructure efficiency and benefit communities by increasing water security and creating jobs. They will also help us to reach our river health targets of returning 450 GL by June 2024.
Investing in water delivery infrastructure reduces water losses in the Murray–Darling Basin, providing benefits to water users and the community by sharing the water saved between water users and the environment.
The Off-farm Efficiency Program is part of the Murray–Darling Communities Investment Package. The package aims to put communities and jobs at the heart of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan. It is funded through the Water for the Environment Special Account and includes:
- State Led Off-farm, with $1.33 billion available to Murray–Darling Basin states for delivery of eligible off-farm proposals.
- Off-farm Efficiency Grants Program, with $150 million available through the Australian Government’s Business Grants Hub to deliver project proponents’ eligible off-farm proposals.
- State Led On-farm, with $60 million available for Murray–Darling Basin state delivery of eligible on-farm proposals.
How Off-farm efficiency projects work
How Off-farm efficiency projects benefit irrigators and the environment
How can funding applications be made?
Applications for the state-led streams can be made to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment by a Basin state government.
Applications for funding for the Business Grants Hub led Off-farm Efficiency Grants Program stream closed on 27 May 2022.
Off-farm efficiency projects are required to have neutral or positive socio-economic impacts. The criteria is available for download. More information on the Ministerial Council meeting is available via the Murray–Darling Basin media centre.
Bridging the Gap
Along with recovering water for enhanced environmental outcomes, the Basin Plan requires water recovery to bring water use in the basin to a sustainable level. This is known as gap-bridging water. For further information visit Water recovery in the Murray-Darling Basin.
Infrastructure efficiency projects have and can continue to contribute towards environmental water recovery. Where a water recovery target is yet to be achieved, a separate funding envelope exists for irrigation efficiency projects targeting gap-bridging water recovery. For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
|The Off-farm Efficiency Program PDF||1.7 MB|
|The Off-farm Efficiency Program DOCX||76 KB|
|Efficiency Measures – Agreed Criteria PDF||300 KB|
|Efficiency Measures – Agreed Criteria DOCX||12 KB|
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Program summary (as of March 2022)
Total number of approved projects: 3
Total approved funding for projects: $306.68M
Total volume of water contracted to be recovered: 21.5 GL LTAAY
Goulburn Murray Water (GMW) Water Efficiency Project
Victoria’s Goulburn Murray Water - Water Efficiency Project was announced on 4 March 2021 as a successful project valued at $177.5 million, generating 15,900 ML LTAAY (long term average annual yield) of water recovery.
The GMW WEP was developed, assessed and submitted to the Australian Government before the closure of the Water Efficiency Program. It complies with the agreed socio-economic criteria.
The GMW efficiency project will deliver modernisation and rationalisation works across the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District.
This project will save water while also improving service delivery by:
- modernising ageing water infrastructure and
- decommissioning old channels.
This project will offer an economic boost to northern Victoria, while also meeting Victoria's obligations under the Murray–Darling Basin Plan.
The project is expected to benefit about 1,000 customers by modernising or decommissioning more than 250 km of channels and upgrading or rationalising more than 1,000 outlets.
For more information visit Engage Victoria.
|Review of Goulburn Murray Water (GMW) Water Efficiency Project PDF||613 KB|
|Review of Goulburn Murray Water (GMW) Water Efficiency Project DOCX||424 KB|
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NSW Murrumbidgee Irrigation Automation Finalisation Project
The New South Wales Murrumbidgee Irrigation Automation Finalisation Project was announced on 17 January 2022 as a successful project under the state-led stream of the Off-farm Efficiency Program valued at $126.48 million.
The project will modernise and improve the infrastructure efficiency of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area through completing the automation of more than 360 control structures, replacing and converting 1,500 metered outlets, refurbishing and piping the remaining 20 kms of open channels, and constructing a new 5,000 ML surge reservoir.
The project will return 6,290 ML/y of water, to enhance the environmental outcomes of the Basin Plan, as Murrumbidgee Conveyance Entitlements (a high security water product delivering about 5,472 ML LTAAY.
This project will offer an economic boost to the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area with a modern irrigation infrastructure network better able to meet customer needs and increasing regional productivity. The infrastructure improvements will allow Murrumbidgee Irrigation to better meet water orders with reduced water delivery travel times. This will provide additional water saving of 0.957 GL/y retained in the system. While this is a small water saving for the system, it will help overcome delivery challenges during adverse weather conditions, such as for the delivery of stock and domestic water and town water, especially in situations where water allocations may be low (during drier years).
Murrumbidgee Irrigation undertook stakeholder engagement in designing and developing the project and NSW has undertaken public consultation during its socio-economic assessment.
For more information visit NSW Planning, Industry & Environment.
SA Marion Water Efficiency Project
The SA Marion Water Efficiency Project was approved for funding on 31 March 2022 under the Off-farm state-led stream of the Off-farm Efficiency Program for $2.703 million. The project will generate 126.56 ML LTAAY of water recovery.
This project will substitute the River Murray water used for open space irrigation in metropolitan Adelaide with treated stormwater from an existing scheme at Oaklands Park by:
- extending the existing supply network with around 10km of pipe to transport recycled stormwater to the irrigation sites
- installing a new tank, aquifer injection system and recovery bore for additional above and below ground storage
- installing new pumps to meet pressure requirements
- implementing water treatment facilities to ensure water is of sufficient quality to meet future demands.
The infrastructure improvements will result in a positive contribution to the Government of South Australia’s wider integrated water policy strategy, benefits include providing a diversified water supply to support greening and cooling in the City of Marion. The project will support the environment by harvesting stormwater away from the Gulf of St Vincent at Glenelg, improving coastal water quality and sea grass habitat.
The Marion Water Efficiency Project is a pilot for potential future projects and funding arrangements. Further efficiency measures projects in other local government areas may be brought forward for funding under the Off-farm Efficiency Program. This project will also provide a pilot for how water saved in metropolitan Adelaide can contribute towards Murray—Darling Basin Plan water recovery arrangements.
For more information visit SA Department of Environment and Water.
Stocktake of off-farm infrastructure concept proposals
In November 2020, the Murray–Darling Basin Ministerial Council considered a list of off-farm infrastructure concept proposals that could address water losses, provide regional stimulus, and/or contribute to agricultural productivity. Proposals that do not generate water savings are not eligible for funding through the Water for the Environment Special Account.
The following list is provided with the consent of proponents.
The department is working with Basin states to bring forward developed proposals and seek funding for those that meet the criteria through the Off-farm Efficiency Program. Refer to Approved projects for a list of current projects under the Program.
Read our full list.
|Stocktake list PDF||181 KB|
|Stocktake list DOCX||93 KB|
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