Water innovation grants help keep WA competitive in global markets

Posted 17 January 2017

IrrigationWestern Australia is looking to capitalise on growing global food demand with a $20 million Water Irrigation Innovation Grants program.

As part of the Water for Food program, the scheme will encourage new investment in local industry development and water research, said Water Minister Mia Davies.

"Funding of up to $5 million a year will be made available to encourage industry-led ideas that optimise the use of water assets in regional communities for high-value food produce," she said.

"While innovation in irrigated agriculture has been happening globally for many years, Western Australia has been slower to embrace new technologies.

“Israel's productivity is twice the value of WA using 1% of the land and 5% of the water.”

The program will run over four years, providing up to $5 million each year through two funding rounds.

Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the investment would help the state compete internationally.

"The Water Irrigation Innovation Grants program will address regional, rural and remote water challenges through innovation and technology, creating more opportunities for irrigated agriculture," he said.

"WA has significant opportunities to capitalise on the growing global demand for food and I look forward to seeing the considerable flow-on benefits for regional communities."
Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Lewis said that by boosting water knowledge and de-risking projects, the program would pave the way for increased investment in irrigated agriculture.

"Funding will be considered for regional projects such as closed system technologies for horticultural enterprises, the development of feasibility and market studies, demonstration and infrastructure projects," he said.

"Projects will need to demonstrate their capacity to leverage investment and how they will benefit the community, the region and the economy."
Applicants can include local government authorities, community groups that are incorporated bodies and businesses (provided a clear community benefit can be demonstrated).

To apply for a grant, click here