Australian Government Department of Agriculture
The Australian Government Department of Agriculture develops and implements policies and programs to ensure Australia's agricultural, fisheries, food and forestry industries remain competitive, profitable and sustainable, and supports the sustainable and productive management and use of rivers and water resources.
Murray Darling Basin Authority
With the enactment of the Water Act 2007, the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) was established as an independent expertise-based statutory agency. The MDBA aims to achieve a healthy working Basin for the benefit of the Australian community.
Nuffield Australia 2020 Scholarship winner
Billy Browning, from Narromine in New South Wales, receives a Nuffield Scholarship with support from the Australian Department of Agriculture and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority. He will investigate the value adding of irrigation water and increased utilisation of low-flow water.
Having previously worked in the financial and agribusiness sector, Billy now operates a 3,500-hectare mixed cropping operation with his family, producing a combination of wheat, barley, canola and chickpeas, as well as cotton and other opportunity crops when water permits.
Faced with the growing issue around reduced water reliability and a drive for return on assets managed, Billy sees a real opportunity to investigate alternative irrigation options and multiple uses from a single water source.
“Water is a highly topical issue within the agricultural sector at the moment. In particular, the cotton industry is facing a significant water reliability issue, which is driving all farmers to be more resourceful with what little water they have,” Billy said.
“The aim of my research is to open up alternatives that enable farmers to best utilise the valuable resource of water, in the most sustainable and productive way. It will also look to investigate renewable solutions, such as solar pumps or battery storage for bore and river water.”
Billy will visit Brazil, Europe and the United States to see how farmers there are addressing similar issues, as well as research and consult with leading irrigated growers here in Australia.