Highlights from World Water Day: National Farmers Federation & Australian Farmers

Australian Farmers shared the news of the installation of Australia’s largest solar diesel hybrid irrigation system, which officially turned on last year.

The 1500 solar panels cover almost one hectare of land on Jon Elder’s 6000 acre cotton and wheat irrigated farm. Mr Elder’s irrigation system is now run by a 500kw solar system during the day and as the sun goes down the diesel generator gradually kicks in to water his farm.

“By switching to the hybrid system we will be producing 500 tonnes less greenhouse gas each year. The environmental advantages are incredible,” Mr Elder said.

In the last ten years the price of solar panels has dropped by 85%, which has lead to more farmers making the business decision to use solar in their everyday farming practices.

 

Photos Courtesy of National Farmers Federation & Australian Farmers. [1


Highlights from World Water Day: 
Cotton Australia

Cotton Australia shared that Australia is the most water efficient producer of cotton in the world, and is continuing to invest in research to improve water use efficiency. The Australian cotton industry achieved a 40% increase in water efficiencies in the decade to 2013.

On average cotton farms have approximately 42 percent of their land dedicated to native vegetation.  More than 42,000 birds representing 45 species were found on farm water storages in the Gwydir Valley, 153 bird species were found in natural vegetation in the Namoi Valley, and 450 species of invertebrates have been recorded in one cotton field during the summer. [1

Photo courtesy of Cotton Australia

 

Murray Irrigation

The environment is the single largest customer of Murray Irrigation, which has the largest geographic footprint of all irrigation infrastructure operators in NSW.  Through their agreement with the Office of Environment and Heritage, they are able to deliver environmental flows into  the Edward River, Jimaringle-Cockran and Gwynnes Creeks and the Tuppal Creek.  They also deliver both environmental and operational water into the Wakool River and Billabong Creek (which also service numerous communities in their footprint).

Murray Irrigation has also been working with local farmers and environmental water managers to deliver water through the Murray Private Wetlands Watering Program since its inception in the early 2000s.