Use COFFIE to save water

The next phase ofwater-saving along the River Murray is about to begin.
Nanjing Night Net

The latest acronym for irrigators to remember is COFFIE: the Commonwealth On-Farm Further Irrigation Efficiency program.

Like previous initiatives such as the On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program (OFIEP) and South Australian River Murray Sustainability (SARMS) Irrigation Industry Improvement Program (3IP), it will offer funding to irrigators who pledge to use water more efficiently.

Irrigators can now apply for a share in $15 million worth of funding to be spent in this state.

Projects must be able to return at least two megalitres of annual water entitlements to the federal government.

Water and the River Murray Minister Ian Hunter said South Australia’s irrigators already managed their water well, but there was more they – and their interstate counterparts – could do.

“The COFFIE program will enable irrigators to build on the substantial water savings already achieved,” he said.

SA Murray-Darling Basin (SAMDB) Natural Resources Management (NRM) Board presiding member Sharon Starick said she was glad for the opportunity to continue working with irrigators and the federal government.

“Since 2010 the SAMDB NRM Board has managed more than 360 individual irrigator projects through the On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program, which has seen just over $60 million invested in on-farm irrigation improvements and generated water savings in excess of 25,000ML,” she said.

“Recent monitoring and evaluation and a cost-benefit analysis have demonstrated real and lasting benefits to irrigators from this on-farm investment, to the opportunity to build on these outcomes through the COFFIE pilot is welcomed.”

The program will be trialled in South Australia before being rolled out across the river basin.

Funding applications from South Australian irrigators will be accepted until September 13, 2019.

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