EnvIrrigators campaign shows environmental stewardship of irrigation farmers
By Christine Freak
For World Water Day (March 22nd), the NSW Irrigators’ Council launched our EnvIrrigators campaign.
The campaign celebrated irrigation farmers’ environmental stewardship and contributions to water efficient, and thus sustainable, food and fibre production.
The campaign highlighted tremendous examples of irrigation farmers carefully managing their local environment in NSW.
- Many of our farmers have wetlands on their property and work with the Office of Environment and Heritage to water the area to make a drought refuge for wildlife.
- We have irrigation farmers in NSW undertaking Native Re-vegetation Programs on their farms to promote biodiversity.
- We have irrigation schemes who deliver environmental water to valuable wetlands.
- Furthermore, our irrigation farmers in Australia are some of the most water efficient in the world.
Highlights from World Water Day: Coleambally Irrigation Corporation Limited
CICL has been working with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) to use their water channel infrastructure to deliver environmental water to natural wetlands in the Coleambally area since 2015. CICL delivers environmental water to a number of native wetlands located on private property that have been otherwise disconnected from naturally occurring periodic water events.
By using their channel infrastructure, environmental water can be delivered to sites which otherwise would only ever be inundated in extremely wet years. These sites are privately owned, and the areas watered are being voluntarily managed by the owners for wildlife conservation.
The primary focus of OEH’s program in the area is the delivery of water to the Wargam Swamps in the south-western part of the CICL area, with water supplied via the West Coleambally Channel. These swamps are located 69km north of Deniliquin and 81km south-west of Coleambally and provide an important refuge habitat in the agricultural landscape for water birds.
CICL is currently partnering with OEH through their Saving Our Species initiative to secure the Southern Bell Frog population in the wild. CICL has also commissioned two field guides for native plants and birds of the Coleambally Irrigation District.
CICL has been working with the Bitterns in Rice team  to monitor bittern breeding in the area and to help develop recommendations for bittern-friendly rice farming. More information about the first Bittern to be tracked by satellites as part of the Bitterns in Rice project, can be found here. 
Coleambally Irrigation Area has undergone modernisation through a Land and Water Management Program, which is a joint government and community investment in improved land and water management to preserve the environmental sustainability.