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New round of incentives open for Victorian Mallee irrigators

Applications are now open for the latest round of irrigation incentives on offer from the Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA).

The incentives are available to growers in the Victorian Mallee and are aimed at encouraging best practice in irrigation with the goal of reducing salinity impacts on the Murray River.

Mallee CMA chairperson Joan Burns is confident this round of irrigation incentives will help continue the region’s transition towards highly efficient irrigation systems.

“These incentives are geared toward eligible irrigators who want to install new technology and improve on-farm infrastructure,” she said.

“The incentives will help growers increase their water-use efficiency and reduce the impacts of irrigation on the environment, particularly salinity and nutrient levels.”

Ms Burns urged irrigators to act quickly to lodge an Expression of Interest in the incentive program, as works such as system checks will need to be completed in line with scheduled irrigations. Full applications must be lodged by 4.00pm Friday, April 23, 2010.

"The incentive scheme supports water conservation management and efficiency as the key to future economic growth and the ecological sustainability of our riverine systems,” Ms Burns said.

"The Mallee Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) identifies objectives for our land, water and biodiversity assets and this document clearly identifies water use efficiency as a key factor in addressing water quality issues and sustainable irrigation development.”

The Mallee CMA’s irrigation incentives are funded by the Victorian Government initiatives of Water Smart Farms and Linking Farms and Catchment Programs to Irrigation Modernisation, together with environmental levies collected from irrigators.

Activities eligible for funding under the incentive scheme include system checks to measure the performance of irrigation systems; the development of irrigation and drainage management plans to determine plant root zone depth and optimal water application (soil surveys, backhoe hire, aerial photography); the purchase and installation of approved scheduling equipment to monitor soil moisture and system upgrades to improve on-farm irrigation infrastructure.

Local irrigators can get assistance and advice on their eligibility for the irrigation incentives from the Department of Primary Industries at Irymple. More information and Expression of Interest forms are available by contacting DPI Irrigation Extension Officer Maxine Schache or Sue Mason on 5051 4500, or by accessing the Mallee CMA website at www.malleecma.vic.gov.au (click on ‘Grants and Incentives’).

All applications for the Mallee Catchment Management Authority’s 2010 Irrigation Incentive Scheme must be lodged by 4pm on April 23, 2010.

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