The Program

Water Efficiency Program will be funded from the Water for the Environment Special Account to upgrade water efficiency infrastructure in the Murray–Darling Basin.

Helping eligible water rights holders improve their water efficiency. To return more water to the Basin and meet  targets under the Basin Plan.

The Commonwealth of Australia as represented by the Department of Agriculture will fund eligible projects aimed at saving water in the Murray–Darling Basin with neutral or positive social and economic impact.

You will:

  • return an agreed volume of water rights to the Australian Government

  • keep any extra water savings that the project generates.

Project funding is 1.75 times the current market value of the water rights you will transfer. Read more on Australian Government Department of Agriculture Website

Eligible Participants

An eligible participant is someone who owns a water right and is capable of transferring that water to the Commonwealth under a contract to do efficiency works to achieve water savings.

Water rights

Eligible water rights are:

  • rights to exclusive access to a share of the surface water resources of a water resource plan area or other water management area

  • able to be permanently traded, or transferred, to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder

  • free from encumbrances when the rights would be transferred

  • located within a water resource plan area identified in Basin Plan 2012 (Chapter 3, Part 2 s3.05).  Refer to the Australian Government Department of Agriculture Website

  • owned by an Eligible Participant

  • suitable for use by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder to achieve environmental benefits.

Eligible Activities offered through CAF

Projects must have neutral or positive socio-economic outcomes.

Projects must meet minimum water savings targets. These are:

  • 10ML for projects delivered by a delivery partner

Delivery partners can seek approval for a 3ML target, only if water savings will be consolidated on their own licence and transferred in bulk.

There are 5 project streams. See examples of eligible activities in each stream

1. Urban water efficiency projects


2. Industrial water efficiency projects


3. Off-farm projects


4. Metering projects


5. On-farm projects




Delivery Partner

CAF as the Delivery Partner is responsible for:

  • Submissions to The Commonwealth for each sub project

  • Developing sub project business cases

  • Deploying Farm Designers where applicable

  • Assessing Proponent Proposals

  • Delivery partner projects must deliver value for money in the context of economic, social, environmental and technical criteria

  • Administering project funding, and responsible for the administration

  • Overseeing the roll-out of the program

  • Consults with land holders on their upgrade requirements.

  • Central point of contact with Proponents, farm designers and PMs.

  • To report progress to the Client regarding the Sub Project construction works and commissioning

  • Witness and verify that the construction works achieve the design intent

  • To manage Proponent and Contractor Risk and Work Health & Safety Requirements



Administration Rates

CAF administration rates based on the project value:



for any Project, for delivery of Project Services.


  • a fixed fee for projects up to a certain water value

  • a sliding fee based on a set percentage of the total water value.  Such a percentage may vary for projects in different size/value brackets.


The agreed Administrative Costs Fee will be discussed at the first meeting between CAF and the Eligible Participant and fixed for the term of the project.

Approved Projects

Details will include:

  • a description of the project

  • program stream

  • location

  • estimated value of the project

  • type of water entitlement

  • unapproved estimated volume of water savings (nominal)

  • a description of the project's socio-economic and environmental impacts



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