The On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program (OFIEP) is an Australian Government initiative, as part of the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program, which is aimed at assisting irrigators within the southern connected system of the Murray-Darling Basin to modernise their on-farm irrigation infrastructure while returning water savings to the environment. OFIEP commenced in 2009 and is now in its fifth round.

Waterfind's On-Farm Projects

Waterfind has been a Delivery Partner since 2013 and has facilitated the successful delivery of over $67 million in project funding to date, to irrigators in South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.

The projects delivered have included upgrades to existing systems or conversion to new irrigation practices which have enabled irrigators to reduce water losses and manage water allocation more efficiently. This has been important in assisting irrigators to adapt to a future with reduced water availability due to climate change.

Waterfind is delighted to have been part of the On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program and the benefits it has provided to irrigators, their communities and the environment.

Murray-Darling Basin Water Infrastructure Program 2018-24

In July 2018, the Commonwealth announced a new Murray-Darling Basin-wide water infrastructure program (the Program) funding water recovery across the Basin.

The Program will provide funding to undertake water efficiency infrastructure upgrades.

After being successful in previous similar funding programs, Waterfind is currently accepting expressions of interest from interested parties who have activities eligible for funding.

If you have a project and would like further information about the Program, please complete this non-binding expression of interest and return by 5:00pm Tuesday 18 September 2018.


Waterfind successfully bid for OFIEP funding totalling $46.8 million to support 24 on-farm projects involving:

  • redesigning infrastructure to improve surface irrigation systems
  • upgrades to bankless channels, flood layouts, drainage and reuse systems, and
  • upgrades to spray irrigation and direct delivery irrigation.

To date, 78 percent of this funding has been delivered across the 24 projects. The completion of these projects is expected to save 31 GL with approximately 17.5 GL to be returned to the Commonwealth for environmental use.




Waterfind delivered $11.5 million across 19 projects in Round 3 of OFIEP. The projects included laser grading and irrigation infrastructure upgrades and/or design projects through New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia to support farmers.

A further $6.2 million was delivered across 20 projects in Round 4 of OFIEP. The projects undertaken in that round included:

  • system redesign
  • installation of moisture monitoring probes, and pipe and riser systems
  • laser levelling to surface flood irrigation, and
  • upgrades to surface and sub surface drop irrigation methods.

In total, the OFIEP projects managed by Waterfind are expected to save over 45 GL with approximately 27 GL of water being returned to the Commonwealth for environmental use.

Savings will be gained through activities including:

  • laser grading which increase efficiencies in water use and reduces the instances of pooling and water wastage
  • fitting variable speed pumps which reduces the power required per ML pumped
  • installation of irrigation monitoring sensors resulting in water efficiencies
  • upgrading drainage water recycling systems, and
  • enclosing pipes and riser systems which reduce farm evaporation and seepage



The following is an individual irrigator’s story that highlights the success of OFIEP.

Dehne Vinnicombe, Dairy Farmer, Jarlkin, Victoria

Dehne’s project was approved under Round 3 of OFIEP through Waterfind’s sub-project: Laser grading and irrigation infrastructure upgrade and redesign.

Dehne and the contractors worked hard (including in very hot conditions) finishing all the landforming, completing the re-use system and installing new channels.

Benefits of Dehne’s project include:

  • increased production and reduced irrigation (11.6ML/ha to 8.7ML/ha)
  • water savings of 2.9ML/ha across all fields, and
  • a re-use system that allows the capture and reuse of runoff

Dehne has returned 218ML of water to the Commonwealth for environmental use.

Dehne speaks highly of the program and recommends to others to participate in any similar programs that may be offered in the future.

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