MORE usable water for farmers and water savings for the environment will be generated off the back of the Off-farm Efficiency Grants Program, which aims to put communities back at the heart of the Murray-Darling basin plan.
Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt has announced applications are open for Program and said $150 million was on the table through the grants to help make irrigation networks as efficient as possible, and to deliver commitments under the Basin Plan to enhance environmental outcomes.
Funding will be made available over three years from 2021-22 to 2023-24 for smaller- scale projects with a minimum grant amount of $50,000.
"These grants are aimed at supporting projects that may not be brought forward separate to the $1.33 billion committed by the Commonwealth to the Off-farm stream managed by states," Mr Pitt said.
"Working with the states, local organisations and irrigators through this grant program will generate jobs, improve delivery of water to farms, and increase water available for growing crops - all while contributing towards the target.
"We've put an end to water buybacks and we're putting communities back at the heart of Basin Plan implementation."
Mr Pitt said saving water through the Off-Farm Program is a win for both farmers and for the environment.
"We consulted with Basin communities and those who own and operate off-farm irrigation infrastructure about these grants and today we've released the guidelines and opened for applications.
"I encourage those organisations and entities interested in applying to read the documentation to see if their great idea can help meet the program aims and then commence their application."
The projects need to produce positive or neutral socio-economic benefits for their region and will need to work with their respective state government to undertake socio-economic testing and public consultations.
For more information on the guidelines around the Off-farm Efficiency Grants Program and to apply, visit: business.gov.au/ofegp.
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