NSW Sustaining the Basin: Irrigated Farm Modernisation

STBIFM Regional Project Officers

For information about the STBIFM program, please contact our project officers:


Mr Peter Verwey
Project Officer
ACRI, Locked Bag 1000, NARRABRI NSW 2390
Phone: (02) 6799 2476
Mobile: 0409 812 497
Email: peter.verwey@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Peter Verwey


Mr Bill Williamson
Project Officer
NSW DPI, Cnr Hampden & Cobra St, DUBBO NSW 2830
Phone: (02) 6881 1238
Mobile: 0427 660 618
Email: bill.williamson@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Bill Williamson


Round 8 is now closed

Round 8 closed on Friday 1 July 2016.

Applications received from the NSW Border Rivers, Namoi and NSW Barwon-Darling catchments are being assessed for Round 8, and applicants will be made aware of results in due course.

Round 7 assessment outcomes will be announced soon.

What's Making news

Surface Irrigation Automation Field Walk, Wee Waa

New ways of reducing costs, minimising labour, saving water and maintaining or increasing yields are always eagerly sought by the irrigation industry. On the 2 March 2016, CottonInfo held a field day at ‘Waverley’ (a 2400 ha irrigation farm west of Wee Waa, owned by the Carolan family).

The day was jointly sponsored by STBIFM and NSW Department of Primary Industries, and aimed to demonstrate to irrigators the benefits of an automated irrigation system. ‘Waverley’ farm manager, Andrew Greste, explained the concept of the recently installed automated permanent siphon layout (through the bank syphons) to about 70 irrigators.

Irrigators were taken on a guided tour of the 108 ha cotton field that had been converted to automated permanent syphons, learnt about the many benefits of automated irrigation and the process involved in getting the system up and running.

‘Waverley’ owner, Steve Carolan said that the system reduces labour costs and delivers an accurate watering system that mitigates water losses.  He also spoke about the smart technology checks on water flow, water level and soil moisture and said that the system definitely ‘beats throwing syphons out’ every time he needs to irrigate.

Steve Carolan explained that some of the venture capital for the automation project (which cost approximately $1,000/ha) was provided by Sustaining the Basin Irrigated Farm Modernisation program (STBIFM).  He said that with any new idea there’s always a certain amount of risk, and emphasised the importance of external funding for this sort of project.

Representatives from Rubicon, the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture (NCEA) and Padman Stops also spoke on the day.

In the future, Steve Carolan hopes to be using this automated approach over the entire farm.

Participants are standing around an irrigation drain listening to how it works.

Waverley Ag farm manager, Andrew Greste, explaining the automated layout at Waverley, Wee Waa

    An irrigation infrastructure modernisation initiative for New South Wales

    Sustaining the Basin: Irrigated Farm Modernisation (STBIFM) is a program being delivered by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI). The Australian Government is providing $111M of funding from the 'Sustainable Rural Water Use & Infrastructure' program.

    STBIFM will improve the long term sustainability of regional communities by allowing irrigators to adapt to reduced water availability and update irrigation infrastructure in the NSW Border Rivers, Gwydir, Namoi/Peel, Macquarie/Cudgegong and NSW Barwon–Darling water management areas.

    STBIFM aims to achieve water savings by improving on-farm water use efficiency (WUE) and reduce the direct extraction of water from each valley.

    STBIFM is currently scheduled to conclude no later than June 2018 by which time all works must be complete. Availability of the program is dependent on the uptake of the program. Regular reviews will guide the ongoing availability.

    DPI is also developing and delivering a capacity building and skills development program to complement the infrastructure incentives.

    For further specific enquiries on STBIFM please email: IFM.Info@dpi.nsw.gov.au

    Communication to eligible participants regarding the publication of the STBIFM market multiplier

    The Australian Government’s Water recovery strategy for the Murray Darling Basin, is a document showing the average market multiples for all major infrastructure projects funded by the Australian Government (including the STBIFM program). In addition, average market prices are available to the public.