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Innovative businesses helping to make water
market and biosecurity challenges a BRIIze
Nine small and medium-sized businesses will share in more
than $800,000 in initial grant funding to develop innovative
solutions to challenges in water markets and biosecurity as
part of the Australian Government’s Business Research and
Innovation Initiative (BRII).
The nine grant recipients for these challenges will test the
feasibility of their ideas over three months to June 2017. If
the tests are successful, the grant recipients may then go on
to apply for a further grant of up to $1 million to develop a
prototype or proof of concept.
BRII is a National Innovation and Science Agenda initiative
that includes two challenges in the agriculture and water
resources portfolio. The first is to provide a technical solution
to improve the transparency and reliability of information about
Australia’s water market. The second challenge is to develop
on-the-spot technology to assist with preventing hitchhiking
pests of biosecurity concern from entering Australia on
The Assistant Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and
Water Resources’ Water Acquisition and Markets Branch,
Mary Colreavy, says she is looking forward to seeing more
timely, accurate, detailed and transparent water market
information. ‘Australia is a world leader in the development
of water markets – but as these markets grow, new sources
of water information and types of water products are being
developed,’ Colreavy says.
‘This means it can be challenging for water users to find
reliable, up-to-date information about the changing market so
they can be confident in making informed trading decisions.
We want to make it easier for irrigators and others to find all
the information they need in one place – and the BRII program
is helping us to partner with four innovative businesses that
have the potential to develop that technology.’
Australian Water Association facilitates
Australian water technology to help in-need
communities in Vietnam
In recognition of World Water Day on 22 March 2017, the
Australian Water Association (AWA) announced that SkyJuice
Foundation Inc. (SkyJuice) has been selected to deliver a pilot
project to provide much-needed drinking water to disadvantaged
communities in Vietnam.
AWA CEO Jonathan McKeown says the project has the
potential to greatly enhance safe drinking water outcomes in
Vietnam by demonstrating advanced, fit-for-use and affordable
‘The Association is keen to facilitate Australian innovation in
supplying safe drinking water in the fast emerging economy of
Vietnam,’ McKeown says. ‘Australia has a great deal to offer the
international water sector, not only with increasing access to safe,
efficient and reliable water supplies, but also the societal and
economic benefits that stem from this, such as the empowerment
of women and the growth of enterprises that rely on water.’
The pilot project is being undertaken in partnership with the
Vietnam Government, and is being run in a rural village of
Vietnam in So’n La Province. It is being funded by the Australian
Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT),
which has engaged the AWA to facilitate the transfer of Australian
water innovations to Vietnam.
The pilot project involves SkyJuice implementing its membrane
water treatment technology, with the aim of building the capacity
of rural water agencies in Vietnam to operate advanced drinking
technology and deliver safe drinking water to their communities.
Outcomes from the pilot project will inform the Vietnamese and
Australian governments on the suitability for nationally upscaling
treatment technology in areas of most need.
Expanded irrigation area to create 3700 jobs for
The South Australian Government has committed to invest $110
million to help expand the Northern Adelaide Plains irrigated food
production area, which would create 3700 jobs in and around
Adelaide’s northern suburbs, and add more than $500 million per
year to the state’s economy.
Premier Jay Weatherill, joined by Minister for Agriculture, Food
and Fisheries Leon Bignell and Minister for Water Ian Hunter,
announced on 10 April 2017 that the state government submitted an
application to the federal government’s National Water Infrastructure
Development Fund (NWIDF) to help to fund the project.
If the application is successful, the state government will invest
$110 million in the project – through SA Water – and is seeking a
$45.6-million funding commitment from the federal government. A
combined $155.6 million would deliver an additional 12 gigalitres
per year of recycled water suitable for agricultural use from the
Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant – an increase of 60 per cent
– to help to expand the state’s irrigated agriculture industry.
New infrastructure would be built to deliver this recycled water
to industry, with capacity to increase to 20 gigalitres per year as
demand and access to interstate and overseas markets grow. The
project would also reduce impacts on the environment by making
better use of recycled wastewater.
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