September 3, 2013
Farmers and irrigators are set to benefit from the Department of Primary Industries’ (DPI) new dedicated water management team.
DPI Director Agricultural Resources, Dr Robert Young, said the new expert team will work with researchers, extension providers and industry to identify water efficiency opportunities and improve on-farm water management.
“The team is focused on both dryland and irrigation farming systems and, among other projects, will oversee the $83 million ‘NSW Sustaining the Basin: Irrigated Farm Modernisation Project’,” Mr Young said.
“DPI’s focus on water management will see the creation of a range of new projects and technologies to improve the productivity and sustainability of water used in agriculture, including remote sensing applications, precision agriculture and advanced irrigation technologies.
“For example, remote sensing technology provides an opportunity to manage irrigation and fertiliser use to reduce yield variation and improve water use efficiency.”
Mr Young said the team brings together a number of new appointments across NSW.
“The water team will be headed up by Dr Tracey MacDonald, Manager Water Research and Development,” Mr Young said.
“Previously with the Central West Catchment Management Authority, Dr MacDonald has extensive experience in a range of water issues, including conservation, rehabilitation, research and industry and stakeholder liaison.
“Mr Peter Regan, Leader Water Research, will oversee research teams dedicated to improving water use efficiency in both irrigated and rainfed agricultural systems.
“Ms Anthea McClintock, Leader Water Policy Planning and Development, leads the Irrigation Development Officers. Ms McClintock also leads water policy and planning activities.
“Dr Michael Grabham, Leader, Sustaining the Basin, will oversee the Irrigated Farm Modernisation Project which helps fund irrigators in the northern Murray Darling Basin to adopt water efficiency opportunities in their operations.”
Mr Young said five new Irrigation Development Officers have been appointed at various locations around New South Wales.
“The expertise of the team covers water use in broadacre agriculture, horticulture and intensive and recycled water use,” he said.
“The officers will work with DPI research staff, industry and other external research and development bodies, agricultural advisory and extension service providers, including Local Land Services, to deliver research outcomes effectively to producers.”