The Smart Farms Projects
Released/reviewed: Jan 2013
WaterSmart and NutrientSmart Farms worked with farmers in Sydney basin to help them:
- Improve production efficiency and reduce costs
- Reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus entering waterways
- Save water
AchievementsWaterSmart and NutrientSmart Farms now annually contribute to savings of 5,900 megalitres or 5,900,000,000 litres of water in the Sydney basin.
Water savings were achieved by helping farmers put in more efficient irrigation systems and Australian Government’s purchase of water licences in the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment.
Financed by the Australian Government’s Water for the Future Initiative and the NSW Government Climate Change Fund, the project has delivered 131 infrastructure upgrades to save water – 92 river water irrigation and 39 town water projects.
Whether the water source is from the river or mains water supply, they all contribute to boosting environmental benefits for the catchment.
Sydney University – Westwood Farm and dairy at Camden
This farm produces irrigated fodder crops for a training and commercial dairy herd. New infrastructure is saving river water and protecting the environment.
Hok Lam – Hydroponic truss tomatoes near Camden
This hydroponic farm is now capturing water run-off, filtering and reusing the water to produce top truss tomato crops. A WaterSmart Farms demonstration farm, the farm is using less town water and showing other growers how to integrate water efficiency and production values.
Cameron’s Nursery – Arcadia
A WaterSmart commercial garden nursery in Sydney’s north is harvesting rain water and treating dam water to save on town water use. Winners of the national 2012 savewater! Small Business Award and the 2011 NSW Government Green Globe Water Award, they’ve sparked community, industry and government interest.
The Hawkesbury-Nepean River system has experienced significant stress. Water extraction, catchment development and contaminated runoff have resulted in excessive weed growth, algal blooms and elevated levels of pollutants.
The Australian Government, through its Water for the Future Program, funded a Hawkesbury-Nepean River Recovery Program to improve the health of the river. The Program aimed to increase environmental flows and reduce nutrients entering the river system.
NSW Department of Primary Industries worked with the Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment Management Authority to implement the NutrientSmart Farms and WaterSmart Farms components of the project from 2009 to 2011.
Both projects worked with landholders in the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment below the major water supply dams (see map). Due to the many synergies between the two projects they were delivered together and collectively named the Smart Farms projects.
ContactSmart Farms officers are available to assist with enquiries about the project. Please contact the Smart Farms Information Line, 02 4588 2118.