Queensland Healthy Headwaters Water Use Efficiency Project

The Healthy Headwaters Water Use Efficiency project delivered water for the environment by upgrading irrigation infrastructure and promoting better water management practices. Under the program:

  • $103.8 million was invested by the Australian Government
  • 12 funding rounds between 2010 and 2017
  • 75 approved on-farm projects
  • delivered water savings of almost 41GL, with 25GL of water savings transferred to the Australian Government for environmental use.

The project assisted irrigation farmers in the Queensland Murray–Darling Basin to invest in efficient irrigation systems and technologies that:

  • reduced water loss
  • delivered long-term social and economic benefits
  • returned a share of water savings to the environment.

The project was funded by the Australian Government under the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program. It was delivered by Queensland as a state priority project agreed to by the Australian and Queensland 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. The final project report is available below.

Download

Document Pages File size
Healthy HeadWaters Water Use Efficiency Phase 2 Final Report PDF 49 7.0 MB
Healthy HeadWaters Water Use Efficiency Phase 2 Final Report DOCX 49 1.7 MB

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

How the project returns water to the environment

Irrigators holding tradeable surface water allocations in Queensland Murray-Darling Basin catchments applied for funding to improve the efficiency of their on-farm irrigation infrastructure.

In return for the Australian Government’s investment in the project, approved applicants transferred at least half of the project water savings to the Australian Government for environmental priorities.

Independent assurance review

The Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, in collaboration with the Queensland Government Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, commissioned an independent assurance review by KPMG of the Healthy HeadWaters project.

The objective of the review was to examine the governance, risk and control processes of the Healthy HeadWaters project to ensure the effective use of Commonwealth funds.

KPMG selected a random sample of 20 projects (25 per cent of all projects) from the Healthy HeadWaters project for a desktop review, and within this sample selected nine projects for on-farm verification.

The sample covered projects ranging in total cost from $100,000 to over $5 million, across various funding rounds, different types of infrastructure works, and across a variety of catchment areas.

Overall, KPMG’s assessment of the Healthy HeadWaters project found:

  • Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy have developed and implemented a number of controls, processes and structures to assist in the effective administration of the Healthy HeadWaters 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.

Download

Document Pages File size
Review of State Priority Projects – Healthy HeadWaters Water Use Efficiency Project DOCX 19 128 KB
Response to KPMG’s Independent Assurance Review of Queensland Healthy HeadWaters Water Use Efficiency Project (2018) DOCX 4 80 KB

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

Last reviewed: 14 April 2021
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