Latest & Historical Announcements

WIA welcomes announcement of more than $100 million for Round 1
As you may be aware, on Monday 21 July, South Australian Premier, the Honourable Jay Weatherill MP, Federal Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, Senator the Honourable Simon Birmingham, and the South Australian Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, the Honourable Leon Bignell MP announced more than $100 Million in projects for Round 1 of the $240 Million South Australian River Murray Sustainability - Irrigation Industry Improvement Program (SARMS-3IP).

This exciting grants program was originally shaped by the Water Industry Alliance (WIA) together with the South Australian Government and the South Australian Irrigators. The program acknowledges previous outstanding achievements in water efficiency and heralds a new era of leadership and a next step for the South Australian irrigation sector.

Historical News

Update 9 August 2013

The Water Industry Alliance welcomes the Commonwealth Government’s recently released Economic Statement which includes reference to funding for South Australia to achieve the outcomes sought in the Water Industry Alliance’s proposed River Murray Improvement Program. The relevant paragraph on page 18 is:

“The Government is also investing in a South Australian River Murray Sustainability Program, which will further South Australia’s contribution to a healthy working Murray-Darling Basin through investments in water efficiency and improvements in the productivity of the South Australian River Murray irrigation industry.” Taken from Page 18, 2013 Economic Statement, Commonwealth Government.

The full Economic Statement is available at the link below.

Update 27 June 2013

The State has signed the IGA on the Implementation of the Basin Plan. This was on the basis that the Commonwealth confirmed arrangements to implement the River Murray Improvements Program (developed by the WIA, State Government and industry). The State and Commonwealth expect to finalise the funding agreement in the near future, at which time further information will be provided on information sessions and the opening of a call for expressions of interest to the Program.

Update 29 May 2013

The Water Industry Alliance is pleased to announce another milestone reached. The final business case was submitted by South Australian Government to the Commonwealth on Thursday 23 May 2013. As previously described, this business case will now be subject to the Commonwealth’s due diligence processes.

The aim remains for Program approval in the near future and on-ground implementation early in the 2013-14 financial year.

Update 20 May 2013

The Water Industry Alliance and our partners have received a large number of inquiries about the River Murray Improvements Program (RMIP). The Water Industry Alliance has unfortunately not been able to provide any additional information to these inquiring groups and has directed them to this website and to enrol in the email listing:

As previously stated, this email group will be used (together with a range of communications channels) to disseminate information when it becomes available.

Negotiations are progressing well but until all of the details of the agreement are settled no official announcements can be made or information provided.

While there is still no certainty around this agreement as it is still subject to Commonwealth due diligence, it remains the aim to have something available around mid-2013.

We look forward to providing another update soon.

Previous Posts:

The $265 Million Announcement

On 28 October 2012, Minister Burke announced that the Commonwealth had committed $265 million for water recovery and industry regeneration projects in South Australian River Murray communities.

The $265 million consists of:

Up to $180 million, subject to due diligence, from the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program (SRWUIP) for the Water Industry Alliance’s River Murray Improvements Program (the Program) to recover up to 40 gigalitres of water for the river
$85 million, subject to due diligence, for a National Partnership Agreement with South Australia for an Industry Futures fund comprising research, regional development and industry development in South Australian River Murray communities. The South Australian Government proposes to allocate up to $60 million of this funding to activities recommended by the WIA.
The program will help secure a sustainable and prosperous future for the South Australian River Murray irrigation industry and its associated social, economic and environmental fabric.

River Murray Improvements Program

The River Murray Improvements Program was initiated in May 2011 at a WIA forum called "Next Generation Irrigation in South Australia". Following the forum an irrigation committee was formed with representation from the irrigation community, industry and the South Australian Government to continue to investigate how South Australia may be able to participate in a funded program to return water to the Murray River.

Working very closely with the irrigation committee, the WIA, supported by DEWNR, developed a Discussion Paper that was tabled in Canberra on 1st March 2012. The Discussion Paper outlined the return of up to 40 gigalitres of South Australian permanent water entitlement for an investment in improvements in irrigation infrastructure and practices of up to $240 million.

The Commonwealth and State, on a 90:10 per cent split, invested in the preparation of a full business case to investigate the proposition in greater detail. The business case is being prepared by the South Australian Government and the Water Industry Alliance.

The Program is aimed at optimising the efficiency and productivity of water use and management along the river and will include investment in irrigation infrastructure and business sustainability.

Subject to submission of a final business case and the Commonwealth due diligence processes, the aim is for on-ground program works to commence in mid-2013.

Program information:

The Program will be open to permanent water access entitlement holders in the South Australian River Murray Prescribed Watercourse
The program will run for six years starting in 2013-14
Funding will not be retrospective (previous on-ground works or business/financial activity will not be eligible)
Funding is to be used for future investment in business – this program will invest in activities that allow for the release of water from the businesses and is not a direct purchase of unencumbered water
Program funds will be allocated through competitive application and assessment processes
The South Australian Government proposes that the Program be delivered to industry as a single package, comprising funding from:
up to $180 million of SRWUIP funding primarily for on-ground works and in line with previous on- and off-farm Commonwealth program funding in return for up to 40 gigalitres of permanent water access entitlement (36 gigalitres of long-term average annual yield) being transferred to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder
up to $60 million for industry redevelopment.
Water savings resulting from the Program will count towards South Australia’s share of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan water recovery target (i.e. a Sustainable Diversion Limit reduction).
Eligible activities for irrigator access to the up to$180 million of SRWUIP funding are still being defined.
Investment criteria for the up to $60 million of the industry redevelopment funding (a component of the $85 million Industry Futures fund) are being finalised.