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Farm Dam Management

This proposal will develop and deliver integrated farm dam management information to allow irrigation businesses to optimise the use and returns from farm dams.

The focus is to improve the quality of advice given by advisors and consultants to farm dam managers by offering training in using relevant software and offering the latest information on farm dam management.

Australia has in excess of 2 million farm dams storing more than 8,000,000 ML of water. Many irrigation enterprises are reliant on water stored in these dams as either their main water supply or to provide flexibility in managing surface- and ground-waters.

Recent Activities

The next 6 months will be in compiling Version 1 of the resource package. This will include list of resources, current research and links to information. There will be two field days for farmers in central NSW and North-east Victoria to pass on information on methods to estimate evaporation and seepage losses and methods to reduce losses. Training days will be available for advisors and consultants in using equipment and software and the latest research.
A Dam Evaporation Calculator that helps a person estimate the costs of mitigation techniques will be available on the CRCIF website along with a technical manual.
Three case studies will be started on dairy, horticulture and viticulture enterprises to present information on successful farm dam management.


  • To collate the most up-to-date resources on dam management
  • To create an integrated summary
  • To further develop the Dam Economic Ready Reckoner software and integrate an online tutorial
  • To improve the quality of advice given by advisors and consultants by offering information through the Farm Dam Resource Kit and training in using software


Farm dam asset managed for optimal benefits by irrigation dependent businesses by:

  • Improving quality of advice available to farm managers from advisors and consultants
  • Increasing the effective irrigation water available from farm dams by providing accessible information and options for managing and reducing water losses,
  • Providing decision support tools where advisors, consultants and dam managers can assess technical and financial options for reducing excessive losses from drainage, seepage and evaporation,
  • Highlighting potential other usages of farm dams such as for water recycling and aquaculture.


Australia has in excess of two million farm dams. In this project farm dams cover both structure which intercept water from watercourses and overland run-off and “on-farm” storages which pump water into dams, from rivers, groundwater or channels for storage.

Outside of major irrigation schemes and groundwater systems these provide an important source of irrigation water to the viticulture, horticulture and dairy industries. Farm dams also provide flexibility for growers to store water on-farm and optimise the use of water availability.

Farm dams management is becoming more important. The drought and subsequent water shortages has focused attention on managing water stored in farm dams. Further more, farm dams are being subject to greater controls in most jurisdictions.

Much of the information currently available has focused on construction of farm dams (eg Barrett 2007, Lewis 2002). This project addresses the need for information on the management of existing farm dams.

Publications and Resources

None listed


Land & Water Australia. 2008. Farm Dam Management. [Online] (Updated March 9th, 2010)
Available at: [Accessed Saturday 26th of October 2013 05:44:53 PM ].


Project ID:


State & NRM Region(s)

Related Topics

id: 2640 / created: 10 September, 2008 / last updated: 09 March, 2010