NSW Basin Pipe project

The NSW Basin Pipe project delivers water for the environment by upgrading stock and domestic water delivery schemes. Under the program:

  • $33.8 million investment by the Australian Government
  • 17 approved on-farm projects, benefitting approximately 78 landholders
  • delivered water savings of almost 12GL, with 11.5GL of water transferred to the Australian Government for environmental use.

The Basin Pipe project upgraded selected stock and domestic schemes in NSW. In addition to other works, remote telemetry was installed on farms increasing on-demand water access which enhanced their ability to manage their holdings remotely. It also provided the landholders the opportunity to improve farm planning for their businesses.

The project was funded by the Australian Government under the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program. It was delivered by New South Wales as a state priority project agreed to by the Australian and New South Wales governments at the July 2008 Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting.

A list of approved projects is available on data.gov.au.

This project is now complete and the final project report will be made publicly available shortly.

How the project returns water to the environment

Stock and domestic water delivery schemes are where licensed water is delivered via an earthen distribution system (natural or manmade) or pipeline system to individual landholders or groups of landholders for the purpose of human and animal consumption. Water losses from these schemes can be quite significant due to seepage and evaporation and replacing creeks and man-made channels with pressurised pipes can reduce these losses by over 80 percent.

The Basin Pipe project involved the upgrading of selected stock and domestic schemes. In return for the Australian Government’s investment in the projects, approved applicants transferred the project water savings to the Australian Government for environmental priorities.

Independent assurance review

In 2018 the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, in collaboration with the New South Wales Department of Industry (Water), commissioned an independent assurance review by KPMG of the NSW Basin Pipe project.
The objective of the review was to examine the governance, risk and control processes of the NSW Basin Pipe project to ensure the effective use of Commonwealth funds.

KPMG selected a random sample of 5 schemes (26 percent of all schemes) from the NSW Basin Pipe project for a desktop review. Within this sample KPMG selected 4 schemes for on-farm verification.

The sample covered projects ranging in total cost from $300,000 to over $8 million, covering 31 properties in the Murrumbidgee and Gwydir river valleys.

Overall, KPMG’s assessment of the NSW Basin Pipe project found:

  • New South Wales Department of Industry (Water) have developed and implemented a number of controls, processes and structures to assist in the administration of the NSW Basin Pipe project
  • no instances of non-compliance with key provisions of the Water Management Partnership Agreement.

The review report and the then Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ response are available below.


​Document Pages File size
Review of State Priority Projects – Basin Pipe Project DOCX  20 260 KB
Response to KPMG’s Independent Assurance Review Report (January 2019) of the New South Wales Basin Pipe Project DOCX  2 32 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, please visit web accessibility.

Last reviewed: 14 April 2021
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