Investing in irrigation infrastructure reduces losses by 40 per cent
From the October 2010 edition of Agriculture Today.
Mark and Peter Winter with the newly delivered pipe to be part of their on-farm infrastructure project.
The Winter family partnership from Moree expect to reduce their on-farm water losses by 40 per cent with funding being provided by the NSW Sustaining the Basin: Border Rivers-Gwydir pilot project.
Mark and Peter Winter currently farm 5000 hectares and irrigate up to 1300 hectares of cotton, wheat and pulse crops each year on two farms.
Despite being very successful they experience large losses of water each year through evaporation and seepage from the bottom of their storages which limits their productivity.
The funded project being implemented by Mark and Peter Winter will allow water to be fully shared between the two properties. Losses from evaporation and seepage will be significantly reduced by moving water from a large storage into a smaller storage.
In addition to this, works to minimise seepage will be completed. Structures will be put in place to harvest “dead” water by piping it from the supply channel to the pump and pumping back into the storage dam.
Peter Winter said they applied for funding through the NSW Sustaining the Basin: Border Rivers-Gwydir pilot project because his accounting of water at the beginning and end of the season showed there were significant losses that were worth investigating and recovering.
“We have invested a lot into developing our properties to improve irrigation efficiencies through land levelling, storage development, tailwater return systems and more recently re-designing head ditches to improve application efficiencies,” he said.
“This work just builds on that and I estimate the improvements we are making through receiving this funding will reduce the losses we are experiencing by around 40 per cent,” Mr Winter said.
The Winters also believe the improvement to their on-farm infrastructure will also provide greater flexibility in timing irrigations and their recycling capabilities between their two farms which will also bring greater efficiencies.
NSW STBBRG is an initiative of the Industry & Investment NSW in partnership with BRG CMA, funded through the Australian Government’s Water for the Future initiative.
Contact Stuart Bray, Project Officer Advancing Water Management (02) 6741 8333.