Rural water use efficiency

The rural water use efficiency - irrigation futures (RWUE-IF) initiative helps irrigators make better use of their on-farm water supplies, through efficient irrigation system design and management.

It also helps irrigators reduce the energy consumption associated with their pumping applications.

RWUE-IF is a partnership between the Queensland Government and major rural industries, where the government provides financial support to industry groups to provide services to irrigators.

Read the rural water use efficiency progress report 2013-16 (PDF, 2.8MB)

Program delivery

Each industry group implements RWUE-IF via their respective programs to provide services to irrigators, including:

  • providing information through workshops, field days, fact sheets and web-based tools on ways to improve water and energy efficiency
  • conducting assessments on irrigation and pumping systems to determine their efficiency and to identify where water and energy savings can be made
  • offering incentives to irrigators to encourage them to make system and practice changes
  • providing advice on managing agricultural wastewater, including the management of nutrients applied through irrigation.

Priority has been given to those areas where water allocations are reduced or under stress to assist those irrigators in dealing with less water available to them. In some areas impacted by issues such as rising water tables, assistance was provided to promote sustainable on-farm water use.

RWUE-IF involves the following industry groups:

  • Queensland Cane Growers Organisation - Canegrowers
  • Queensland Dairyfarmers' Organisation - QDO
  • Growcom
  • Queensland Turf Producers Association
  • Flower Association of Queensland
  • Nursery and Garden Industry Queensland.

For the latter three industries, the focus of RWUE-IF is on their production sectors.

In addition to the industry programs, Irrigation Australia Ltd and the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture, are supporting the industry programs by enhancing the development and uptake of new technologies and practices in the irrigation sector and improving the technical capacity of service providers to deliver competent services.

The government has provided funding of $8 million over four years from July 2013. The program is being delivered statewide, except in the Queensland portion of the Murray-Darling Basin where the Healthy HeadWaters program operates.

Industry and support grants that have been awarded to date are summarised below:

Rural industry groupProjectFunding 2014–2017
CanegrowersBurdekin - on-farm irrigation system efficiency; dewatering bores; climate and soil/water information systems.
Tablelands - work with the Northern Gulf NRM group to promote practice change for irrigation system efficiencies in Arriga basin.
Whitsundays/Proserpine, Mackay/Sarina and Bundaberg/Childers - development of climate and soil/water information systems
Queensland Dairyfarmers' OrganisationUpper Johnstone and Herbert - maintain/improve productivity through water and nutrient use efficiency and irrigation system change.
Callide Valley - maintain/improve productivity through water and nutrient use efficiency and irrigation system change.
South East Queensland - maintain/improve productivity through water and nutrient use efficiency and irrigation system change
GrowcomLakeland - maintain/improve productivity through irrigation system evaluations and irrigation scheduling. Upper Herbert and Johnstone, Lockyer, Burnett, Central Highlands and Mareeba-Dimbulah - improve productivity and sustainability through irrigation system evaluations, irrigation scheduling and fertigation techniques$1,200,000
Nursery and Garden Industry QueenslandQueensland wide - Improve productivity and sustainability through development of whole of farm management plans$800,000
Turf QueenslandSouthern and Northern Queensland - implement irrigation technology advancements and benchmarking to underpin farm productivity improvements$365,342
Flower Association QueenslandSunshine Coast and North Queensland - demonstrate water use efficiency through implementation of efficient irrigation hardware and practices$313,000
Support organisationsProjectFunding 2014–2015
Irrigation Australia Ltd.Up-skill the irrigation supply sector and private service providers and provide technical support to industry programs$319,000
National Centre for Engineering in AgricultureHost and maintain software  and engage with irrigators through industry programs to facilitate the uptake of new technologies$239,000
Irrigation Australia Ltd.Irrigation sector engagement, professional development, industry and irrigator support and training.$233,666
National Centre for Engineering in AgricultureSoftware maintenance, development and training for improved irrigation management.$234,530

Grants awarded for additional short term projects are summarised below:

OrganisationProjectFunding 2014 – 2015
National Centre for Engineering in AgricultureDevelop and promote technologies which will assist irrigators with scheduling and water management$89,190
GrowcomTarget improving on-farm management decision making using precision agriculture techniques$80,000
GrowcomDevelop best management practices for on-farm sediment control that will complement their current farm management system modules relating to water efficiency, nutrient management and water quality.$80,000
Irrigation Australia LimitedFast-track the uptake of certification to improve the skills of workers in Queensland's irrigation service sector such as consultants and suppliers$41,600
Irrigation Australia LimitedDevelop codes of practice and standards for rural irrigation systems to guide and assist irrigation designers, consultants, suppliers contractors and ultimately irrigators to achieve best practice$75,000
Queensland Dairyfarmers' OrganisationInvestigate the feasibly of using current alternative energy technologies for irrigation systems$20,000
Queensland Dairyfarmers' OrganisationEstablish a demonstration farm in Callide Valley to exhibit management practices in water use efficiency and management of poor quality irrigation water$93,500
National Centre for Engineering in AgricultureDevelop mobile interface for Scheduling Irrigation Diary & benchmark system capacity$89,190
National Centre for Engineering in AgricultureDevelop a water management decision support tool on PC and mobile platforms.$59,210

Contact us

Karen Murday, Operations Support
Department of Natural Resources and Mines
PO Box 15216

Useful industry contacts

Graham Harris
Ph: (07) 4688 1559

Shane Holborn
Ph: (07) 3821 3350

Ruth Chalk
Ph: (07) 3236 2956

Scott Wallace
Ph: (07) 4613 1066
Mob: 0408 135 002

Nursery & Garden
Steve Hart
Ph: (07) 3277 7900

Burn Ashburner
Ph: (07) 3864 6444

Jim Vaughan
Ph: (07) 3488 0916


General enquiries 13 QGOV (13 74 68)