The Riverland now boasts the world’s first irrigation area to receive global certification against the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) International Water Stewardship Standard.
The Renmark Irrigation Trust (RIT) has received ‘Gold Certification’ - and is the second organisation in the world to be recognised at this level.
The AWS Standard and Certification system recognises world best practice in water efficiency, water quality, management of water-related areas and water governance.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said this significant achievement was fitting recognition for the Riverland and the generations of irrigators who have for decades led Australia in irrigation water efficiencies.
“It’s also extremely fitting that it’s RIT that is the first to gain this recognition – they were the first irrigation trust in Australia, the first to be completely piped, and the first irrigation trust to deliver environmental water, they have long demonstrated the innovation and courage required to be world’s best,” said Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone.
“I wish to commend everyone – and it’s been a truly collaborative effort – by those who have worked towards this achievement – in particular I want to acknowledge the South Australian Murray Irrigators (SAMI) who took the first step two years ago and applied to PIRSA’s Co-Innovation Cluster Program to get the funding to begin this process.
“Other important participants in the process were the Goyder Institute, South Australian MurrayDarling Basin Natural Resources Management Board, Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, National Australia Bank, Waterfind Australia, as well as PIRSA, AWS AsiaPacific, and of course the Renmark Irrigation Trust.”
SAMI president Caren Martin said the organisation had approached the project as an opportunity to build collaboration and gain recognition for the work undertaken in the Riverland for generations.
“I sincerely hope that this draws attention to the many years and dedicated efforts of irrigators in this area to achieve and sustain best practices in their management of water,” Ms Martin said.
RIT presiding member Peter Duggin said the findings of the audit team and subsequent ‘gold certification’ is welcomed recognition for the work and commitment made by RIT members.
“We hope the leadership shown by our members can inspire others in the Basin to test their performance against an international standard as the AWS Standard.”
SAMI received $58,000 under the PIRSA Co-Innovation Cluster Program to investigate and enter the Water Stewardship process. Additional funding for the certification process was also provided by National Australia Bank.
The AWS system for recognising and rewarding good water management was conceived in Australia during the Millennium Drought but is now a global system with projects on all continents and international headquarters in Edinburgh Scotland.