water efficiency

Water efficiency

We commit to improving water efficiency

Water is a critical resource for the industry in all farming systems, from pasture based, to irrigated systems and housed animal systems as well as for manufacturing.

Through the Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework, our goal is to increase water use efficiency. We aim to do this by improving water productivity, active monitoring of water consumption, using recycled water and developing water security management plans.

These initiatives below are driving change in water management.


Case studies

Using water wisely

At Andrew Murphy’s farm in Kyabram (VIC), being more water efficient is where they’re putting their efforts. From using ground moisture meters to determine when the soil needs irrigating, to choosing more water efficient crops, it’s these changes that Andrew says make both environmental and business sense.

Andrew also wants to empower farmers and his message is clear. “Don’t be overwhelmed by trying to run your business and be more environmentally sustainable,” he says. “They go hand-in-hand and you’re probably already taking steps, like managing your effluent, planting trees or fencing off water ways. Building on what’s achievable for you, over time, will ensure you’re looking after the land for future generations.”

Dairy farmer Andrew Murphy from Kyabram from Victoria

Photo Credit- Rodney Woods


Latest research

Dietary water scarcity footprint

Research conducted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has tried to determine the water impact of different diets. By looking at both the amount of water used to produce a food, and whether water was scarce or abundant at the location it was drawn from, the CSIRO has developed a measure of the 'water scarcity footprint'. Read how dairy fares

Industry initiatives

Dairy Australia's SIP project

Smarter Irrigation for Profit (SIP) is a national collaborative research, development and adoption project which is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. It aims to enable irrigators to improve their productivity and profit. 

Dairy farmer Rod Bradley (Cressy, Tasmania) says of his experience with the project “We’re putting the water where it needs to go, we’re using less power to do it, and we’re growing more grass.”

Read more examples of how farmers involved in the project have made changes on their farms here.

Dairy Innovation Hub

A Dairy Innovation Hub has been established by Dairy Innovation Australia Ltd (DIAL) and the University of Melbourne. The key focus of the Hub is to address the major technical challenges faced by the Australian dairy manufacturing industry. The work done by the Hub will also focus on improving environmental sustainability - including increasing water use efficiency.

WA Code of Practice for Dairy Farm Effluent

A new code of practice for dairy farm effluent has been released cementing WA dairy farmers commitment to reducing the industry's environment footprint. Read more about what the code means. 


Measurement and reporting

Measuring water use in manufacturing 

Member companies of the Dairy Manufacturers Sustainability Council measure and submit their water consumption and wastewater data for inclusion in an annual ‘scorecard’ and use this to benchmark their performance. View the latest Environmental Scorecard.

Sustainability across the Australian dairy industry

Read the latest Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Report to see how we're making progress against all our goals and targets.