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40 new water projects on the way via federal funding

In a boon for regional water security across Australia, the National Water Grid Connections funding pathway is supporting the development of a further 40 water projects, including the construction of off-stream storage dams, water pipelines, and recycled water irrigation systems.

Up to 33.6 GL of additional water storage capacity and 31.3 GL of additional water is expected to be available each year as a result of projects under the Connections funding pathway.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said that the Australian Government is investing in water infrastructure projects suggested by state and territory governments to improve water reliability and efficiency across the country.

“We have been working hard with our state and territory partners to get shovels into the ground and water to our regions,” he said.

“Together, we have identified 40 new water infrastructures projects across regional and rural Australia through the National Water Grid Connections funding pathway. 

“This takes our total number of projects from 30 to 70, significantly boosting water security and economic growth in our regional communities. All of these new projects will be delivered alongside our larger scale projects.

“Our investment of $108 million is leveraging more than $214 million in partner funding from state and territory governments and other third parties. The total value of the entire package of Connections projects is more than $322 million.”

To be eligible for funding, projects must meet existing National Water Grid Investment Framework eligibility criteria, as well as one or more targeted priority themes, which include improving water access and security, promoting regional economic growth and sustainability, and building resilience to drought and a changing climate.

Up to $20 million in water infrastructure funding was made available for each state and territory under the Connections pathway through the $3.5 billion National Water Grid Fund, with the federal government contributing up to $5 million per project.

The project packages are expected to create 2500 new ongoing jobs, 500 seasonal jobs and a further 1175 construction jobs during development.

New South Wales

The New South Wales Connections package water infrastructure projects include the construction and upgrade of new pipelines and water storage facilities. These are aimed at enabling the expansion of agriculture and providing adequate water supplies and storage. 

The Lake Wyangan Water Sustainability project will see the Griffith Water Reclamation Plant modified, with a new 5.3 km pipeline installed to support the local citrus industry, while the Broken Hill to Menindee Graziers Pipeline will support graziers across 320,000 hectares of farmland.

A new 300 megalitre off-stream storage dam will be constructed at Walcha to improve water reliability for the community and agricultural users, and the Urbenville Water Treatment Plant will be expanded with the installation of three raw water tanks.

Victoria

In Victoria, projects include a new recycled water pipeline and upgrades to existing infrastructure to help bolster agriculture during drought conditions. 

Recycled water for irrigation will be supported at Kyneton with the construction of a 13 km pipeline, set to provide 300 megalitres per annum of recycled water to irrigate 60 hectares of farmland.   

The first of a two-stage interconnection project between the Gisborne and Sunbury recycled water schemes will construct a 3.8 km transfer pipeline, while Bacchus Marsh will receive new pipelines to create more robust water security. 

The Horsham Agriculture SmartWater for Grains project will convert municipal wastewater into high-quality irrigation water to secure agriculture, including important research and innovation, with pipeline projects to support irrigation set for Macalister and Sunday Creek. 

Furthermore, up to 50 km of the existing Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District Channel will be upgraded to ensure reliable irrigation supply to 11,000 irrigators. 

Queensland 

Queensland’s new pathway project is about enabling the fast delivery of works that will offer immediate support for the regions. 

The Warrens Gully System Capacity Upgrade project will include infrastructure upgrades, including the construction of a new river pump station, which will enhance water services to existing customers and facilitate the expansion of the agricultural industry.

Western Australia

Increasing water storage capacity is one of the key aims of the Western Australian projects, as well as installing new water recycling systems and upgrading pipelines.

Infrastructure facilities will be constructed at 70 dam sites, including pipework, tanks, solar pumps and standpipes, to help increase the resilience and water security in farming communities.

The Cave Springs Road Tail Water Return System will involve the construction of two water recycling systems in the Ord RIver irrigation area, delivering 2400 megalitres in water savings per annum. 

The Katanning to Kojonup Pipeline will be enhanced with a number of pipeline replacement works, and the Jerramungup Dam and the Cranbrook Dam will have degraded bitumen replaced or upgraded to help increase runoff and water storage. 

The Ravensthorpe Dam catchment will be extended by five hectares, increasing the volume of water in the dam by approximately seven megalitres per year, and the Gascoyne Irrigation Scheme infrastructure will be upgraded and create additional bores. 

South Australia

South Australia’s projects include a focus on groundwater recharge zones, as well as upgrades to irrigation infrastructure. 

Groundwater recharge areas will be created to refill aquifer and groundwater supply to minimise reductions in water allocations for primary producers, and irrigation water delivery infrastructure will be upgraded across the Lower Murray Reclaimed Irrigation Area.

Barossa wine producers will be supported with new infrastructure to supply 800 megalitres of additional water from new sources per annum, and the Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme distribution network will be extended with 5kms of new pipeline.

Tasmania

Tasmania’s projects include new and extended pipelines and recycled water schemes, increasing availability and reliability of water for agricultural producers. 

The Greater Meander Irrigation Scheme will have open supply channels converted into new pipelines to supply more water to irrigators, and 84 sewage pump stations will be upgraded to improve water quality for shellfish production.

The existing Penna Recycled Water Scheme will be expanded to enable effluent reuse, and a new pipeline will be constructed to provide recycled irrigation water to the South Arm Peninsula, allowing the region’s primary producers to expand.

Northern Territory 

In the Northern Territory, projects will focus on developing a critical water supply network to enable agricultural and primary industry growth in the region. 

The critical water supply network will be developed to support the Katherine Logistics and Agribusiness Hub, and a pilot project will be conducted on Gunn Point Peninsula to trial crops and explore the commercial viability of different agriculture opportunities.