Water Matters - Issue 50, December 2019
UPDATE AS AT 20 DECEMBER: Round 1 of the Water for Fodder program has closed. Visit Water for Fodder for the latest updates and to subscribe for information about Round 2, due to open in the 2020–21 water year.
Eligible farmers are encouraged to read the guidelines now, before the program opens next week.
Farmers in the southern connected Murray–Darling Basin will soon be able to apply to purchase water at a discounted rate through the Australian Government’s Water for Fodder program.
The department has published guidelines to allow farmers to familiarise themselves with the process before the program opens for applications in the second week of December.
A total of 40 billion litres will be available for purchase this water year (2019 –20) and another 60 billion litres in the next water year (2020–21).
Individual farmers can apply to purchase 50 megalitre allocations for $5,000, or up to 2 allocations of 50 megalitres each if they hold more than 1 water allocation account.
Acting head of Water division, Mary Colreavy, encourages farmers to read the program guidelines this week so they are ready to apply when the program opens.
Continue reading about Water for Fodder program set to open next week
‘It is important to understand the eligibility requirements and the application process ahead of the program opening for applications,’ Ms Colreavy said.
‘Applications are expected to open in the second week of December and will remain open until all of the water is allocated.
‘Farmers who don’t make the first round will have an opportunity to apply through the next round in 2020–21,’ she said.
Farmers can subscribe now to receive a notification from the department as soon as the first round of applications open.
Horticulture farmers with permanent plantings can now also access the rebates in some states, along with livestock farmers.
Horticulture farmers with permanent plantings are now eligible for rebates under the $50 million On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme.
All states are now delivering the expanded scheme, which was previously only open to livestock farmers.
Acting head of water Mary Colreavy said eligible horticulture farmers can claim 25% of expenses up to a maximum of $25,000, on projects started after 30 June 2019.
‘These projects can include installing new bores or desilting dams, to provide more water to plantings where they need it,’ Ms Colreavy said.
‘So far, more than 2,100 livestock farmers have received funding under the scheme, and we hope that horticulture farmers with permanent plantings will now take up the opportunity to recoup some of their emergency water infrastructure costs.
Continue reading about rebate scheme now extended to include horticulture farmers
‘We also encourage livestock farmers who haven’t yet decided about upgrading water infrastructure on their properties to look into what kinds of projects they can get rebates for.
‘This drought is really hurting regional Australia, so we hope this rebate encourages more farmers to improve their farm’s water infrastructure so that their business can endure the conditions to come.’
To apply for a rebate in your state, or to check the eligibility requirements, visit the scheme’s webpage.
eBay shoppers searching for shower heads and taps were shown ads informing them about water efficiency labelling and standards.
The Department of Agriculture has been stepping up efforts to inform consumers about the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme (WELS) through a new pilot campaign targeting online shoppers.
Ads have been placed on eBay in the ‘shower heads and taps’ category to raise awareness among ‘do it yourself’ renovators to ensure they save water as well as money.
According to acting head of WELS David Jongeneel, more Australians are shopping online, which makes the compliance job more challenging.
‘No matter where or how Australians buy them, products regulated under WELS must be registered and properly labelled for water efficiency,’ Mr Jongeneel said.
‘Educating consumers is the best way to influence their purchasing behaviour, which in turn sends a powerful signal to the manufacturers and retailers whose activities are regulated under WELS.’
Continue reading about educating online consumers about water efficient products
The eBay ads have been running since August and wound up at the end of November 2019. The department will evaluate their impact to inform further online advertising efforts to increase awareness and compliance.
WELS is Australia’s urban water-saving scheme that specifies and enforces efficiency standards and labels on water-using appliances, fixtures and fittings.
Find out more from the Water Rating website.
Access to clean drinking water and sanitation throughout the entire world is one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, highlighted by World Toilet Day.
An international day dedicated to the porcelain throne sounds like a bit of a novelty holiday, but in truth World Toilet Day is a very serious matter.
Held on 19 November 2019, the official United Nations (UN) World Toilet Day aimed to draw attention to issues of sanitation and clean water in developing nations.
Mary Colreavy, acting head of the Department of Agriculture’s Water division, says sanitation plays a vital role in societies.
‘According to the UN, 4.2 billion people in the world do not have safely-managed sanitation services. This creates obvious health problems for individuals and communities, and it has broader-reaching social, economic and environmental consequences,’ Ms Colreavy said.
‘World Toilet Day’s mission is to leave no one behind when it comes to sanitation, because sanitation is a fundamental human right.’
Continue reading about World Toilet Day: much more than the name suggests
Global improvements to sanitation and access to clean water for all people are the focus of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6), one of 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN for all member nations to reach by 2030.
Australia is one of 193 countries to endorse the 2030 Agenda, and the Department of Agriculture is the lead department endorsing our country’s efforts towards SDG6.
‘Australia is one of the best performing nations in implementation of SDG6, with 98% of our population having safely-managed sanitation and drinking water services,’ Ms Colreavy said.
‘However as the driest inhabited continent, we still face challenges in water supply to our most remote communities.
‘The Australian Government remains committed to national water reform, and recently the National Water Grid Authority was launched to help shape national water infrastructure policy.
‘We also have a part to play internationally. We share our experience with other nations at high-profile international water forums, so that other countries—particularly developing ones—can move towards better water management.’
For instance, due to the success of the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards scheme, Australia is now leading the development of a global standard for water efficiency testing and rating with the International Organisation for Standardisation.
‘Such a standard would help implement efficiency measures internationally for water-using fittings and appliances at a low cost. This would support the UN High Level Panel on Water’s efficiency initiative, and SDG6,’ Ms Colreavy said.
‘We also have memoranda of understanding with several nations to help improve water supply and sanitation.’
Find out more about World Toilet Day and Australia's role in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
A new app funded by the Australian Government will allow water users to access free and reliable information on water markets.
Irrigators and other water users now have easy access to water market information that is reliable and as close to real time as possible, through a new app funded by the Australian Government.
Waterflow, available for free on mobile and desktop, gathers information from state governments, participating brokers and trading platforms.
It puts all information into a user-friendly app that farmers and water traders, regardless of their knowledge and experience with water markets, can use when working remotely or in the office.
The app was developed with funding from the government’s Business Research and Innovation Initiative (BRII). The BRII gives grants to small to medium-sized enterprises who can develop innovative solutions to challenges set by Australian Government agencies.
Continue reading about water market information to flow into farmers’ phones
The challenge posed by the Department of Agriculture was to ‘improve transparency and reliability of water market information’. The successful proposal to meet the challenge received funding and developed the Waterflow app.
Head of Murray–Darling Basin policy Matthew Dadswell said the app aims to help people to trade water for their business by bringing together information from multiple sources and differing formats.
‘The app provides information on water prices, easy price comparisons, tailored reports and alerts, all of which will empower business owners to make informed decisions about buying and selling water,’ Mr Dadswell said.
The app collects data, as frequently as every 10 minutes, from more than 30 sources. These sources include the Bureau of Meteorology, state and Commonwealth governments, and water market brokers.
Information on the Waterflow app is objective: Waterflow is not a brokerage or trading platform, and its developer Marsden Jacob Associates is not a market participant.
‘Waterflow is designed to level the playing field by making information free and easily accessible to everyone involved in water markets,’ Mr Dadswell said.
‘It has even been designed to work well in areas of low data connectivity, where many irrigators live and work.’
So far the data covers the major regulated surface water catchments in the Murray–Darling Basin, apart from Queensland. The developers are working to expand coverage to include groundwater systems in the Basin, and other systems outside the Basin.
You can register for free today.
Past information webinars on the Water Efficiency Program are now available to watch online.
Did you miss our Water Efficiency Program webinars in September and October?
Watch the videos on YouTube to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to register.
The Australian Government is funding $1.5 billion in water-saving projects across the Murray–Darling Basin to help water users to use their water more efficiently and improve productivity.
These projects, funded under the Water Efficiency Program, will help water users modernise their infrastructure while their water savings are returned to the environment.
For more information, visit the program webpage.
You can also watch case studies of how other farmers are already benefiting from this program.
The department had a booth promoting compliance with water efficiency labelling at this year’s World Plumbing Conference.
The Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme (WELS) team from the Department of Agriculture set up a booth at this year’s World Plumbing Conference in Melbourne.
They spoke directly to plumbers and others in the industry about water saving and efficiency to increase understanding and compliance.
The World Plumbing Conference also provided a platform for participants and decision makers at all levels of industry to share knowledge, network and develop professionally.
A roundup of news issued from the water portfolio in the last few months.
Department of Agriculture
Minister for Water Resources, David Littleproud
- Fighting drought with Water for Fodder
- Every drop needs to count
- $15 million fencing program for farmers and native fish
- First Australian to lead Basin Community Committee
- Inspector-General investigates MDBA
- Action to protect native fish ahead of hot, dry summer
- Inspector-General sets up shop in Mildura
- More farmers to get a hand with drought
- $7.9 million for healthier floodplains
- Progress with water resource plans
- Historic Indigenous appointment for the MDBA board
- Spring into action
- Integrity of water markets paramount
- Taking pressure off native fish in the Darling River
- Letting the light in on river operation costs
- Show us the water!
- Australian technology helping our farmers
- $20m Basin research program increases security
Murray–Darling Basin Authority
- Canning the Plan won't turn the taps on
- Water quality mapping – a new initiative from the MDBA
- Regional opportunities – MDBA is recruiting now!
- First Aboriginal chair appointed to Basin Community Committee
- Complaint: 60 Minutes 'Water Rats'
- Satellite imagery critical in tracking first flush flows
- Joint action strengthens water compliance
- Delivery of water resource plans gaining momentum
- Close eye on Lake Hume water quality this summer
- Water audit finds lower Murrumbidgee metering in good shape
- Erosion control at work in the Upper Murray and Swampy Plains
- Water delivery options to meet demand through the Murray