CRC Irrigation Futures
Farm Dam Management
Ms Deborah Atkins
Project Description:
This project will develop and deliver integrated farm dam 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 the latest information on farm dam management and offering training in using relevant software.

This project can positively impact on irrigation management by increasing the productivity of farm dams through;
1. Reducing losses (seepage, drainage and evaporation),
2. Highlighting the integrated management during the season (groundwater and surface water and seasonal demand management)
3. Drawing attention to other compatible uses (aquaculture and recycling)

Outcomes and benefits
  • Improved 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.

    Project outputs
  • Farm Dam Resources Kit for use by advisors, consultants, farmers, NRM and Catchments managers and policy people
  • Updated Dam Economic Calculator Ready Reckoner web software with integrated manual and tutorial
  • Training days for advisors, consultants, farmers, NRM and catchment managers and policy people
  • Progress to Date:
    Resource package
    The resource package is available electronically. The Farm Dam Management website has papers, reports and links for further information. This website is hosted by National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture. Go to

    About the Dam Evaporation Ready Reckoner
  • A simple computer spreadsheet model has been developed that enables the user to enter the dimensions of various types of dams, the pan evaporation data (linked from another website), the seasonal variation in the capacity of the dam, and the costs of any evaporation mitigation technologies.
  • The spreadsheet then calculates the amount of evaporation saved (to the nearest 100 000 litres), and the cost of doing so
  • Tutorials and case studies are available.
    Go to

    This project is designed to target smaller farm dams used for irrigation horticulture, viticulture and dairy (i.e. less than 10 hectares) although the information, research and some of principles apply to larger scale dams used for other purposes.
  • Publications:
    Media Releases:
    Postgraduate Students:

    From the CEO's desk - December


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