As growers face the imminent roll-out of water metering in the Granite Belt and Border Rivers regions, continued efforts and investment in water efficiency are as important as ever.
Growcom is currently delivering the Rural Water Use Efficiency – Irrigation Futures (RWUE-IF) project, a partnership between the Queensland Government and rural irrigation industries, to horticulture growers in the Granite Belt and Eastern Darling Downs regions.
This project, which is funded by the Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy through to June 2018, has been a success throughout Queensland for nearly two decades.
While the project has been operating for many years, sustained focus on the Granite Belt is quite recent. We have had excellent attendance at local workshops and it’d be a shame to cut funding just as it is gaining momentum in an area where water security is a perennial issue. In the Granite Belt and Eastern Darling Downs, where growers are currently experiencing reduced water allocations, continued funding to support this program is crucial.
RWUE-IF has made excellent headway in providing on-farm services, training and extension in this region. The on-farm practice change and capacity building which has come about as result of the program continues to help growers move towards a more sustainable horticulture sector.
Water and pump-related energy are ongoing issues in the horticulture industry. Engagement with horticulture growers in the region has shown there is a need for further support to improve irrigation and fertigation system management through sustainable water resource management.
Water efficiency, productivity and sustainability outcomes achieved on-farm as a result of the RWUE-IF program have been proven to benefit regions where farming is the lifeblood of the local economy.
The value of this program, particularly in regions like the Granite Belt, cannot be underestimated and Growcom implores the Queensland Government to renew its investment in RWUE-IF for 2018 and beyond.