Certified irrigation professionals bring confidence to COFFIE pilot

Posted 26 March 2018.

The use of certified irrigation professionals to support the implementation of the Australian Government funded Commonwealth On-Farm Further Irrigation Efficiency (COFFIE) Pilot Program is ensuring proposals submitted under the program deliver the intended benefits.

Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin Project Manager Michael Cutting said under the new program design, delivery partners are more actively involved in managing the technical assessment of each proposal.

“With the COFFIE Pilot we have responsibility for managing the technical assessment of all proposals prior to them being submitted to Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) which ensures the assessments can be effectively and transparently performed in a timely manner,” he said.

“The COFFIE Pilot guidelines require that each proposal submitted to DAWR be assessed by an Independent Approved Irrigation Professional (IAIP) which  has been invaluable.

“We utilise certified irrigation professionals at different stages throughout the process including certified irrigation designers that produce irrigation designs for each proposal and others that act as IAIPs and formally undertake the technical assessment of proposals,” Mr cutting said.

“The primary role of the IAIP is to certify that project works are technically and practically feasible and importantly that the projected water savings can be achieved while maintaining the agricultural productivity of the property.

“The IAIPs also certify that the projected costs are reasonable and realistic and within the expected range for the type of infrastructure and scale of installation,” he said.

Chair of the Certification Board of Irrigation Australia Limited (IAL), Gennaro Vellotti said that Irrigation Australia was working towards a future for irrigation in Australia where all irrigation systems are developed by Certified Irrigation Designers, installed by Certified Irrigation Contractors or Installers, operated by Certified Irrigation Operators or Managers and product advice is provided by Certified Irrigation Retailers and Agronomists.

“It was great to be approached by the SAMDB Natural Resources Management Board to assist in the delivery of the COFFIE Pilot program as it shows there is recognition of Irrigation Australia’s Certification Program and the value and rigor that our certified professionals can bring to the process,” Mr Vellotti said.

Irrigation Australia CEO, Bryan Ward said that utilising Certified Irrigation Professionals was a very good initiative as it ensures that the end user gets a greater professional outcome for their Irrigation system.

“It is also rewarding for irrigation professionals who have taken that extra step of additional learning, and are required to meet the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements of the Irrigation Australia Certification program,” Mr Ward said.

SA River Murray irrigators interested in participating in the COFFIE Pilot should visit the Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin website at: http://www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/samurraydarlingbasin/get-involved/funding-opportunities/coffie-program or the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website at: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/water/mdb/programs/basin-wide/coffie/sa-pilot-coffie

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