Infrastructure upgrade serves up irrigator benefits

Posted 30 September 2016

Irrigator infrastructure upgradeIrrigators in Victoria's north west are set to save at least 7GL of water a year thanks to a once-in-a-century infrastructure upgrade.

The $120 million Sunraysia Modernisation Project will also give around 2000 irrigators access to water 365 days a year.

Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce said the upgrade – the largest in 100 years – was a great feat.

“I want to congratulate Lower Murray Water, the local contractors and suppliers, and the local farmers who participated in the project,” he said.

“Not only was work completed on time and under budget, but 23.9km of open channel has been replaced, 15.9km more than originally planned," he said.

The project upgraded key pump stations to improve reliability and energy efficiency.

Almost 24km of open channel was replaced with low pressure pipeline, and channel automation was installed in the remaining 20km of open channel network, including 19 regulating structures.

Merbein grower Richard Wells said he had seen significant savings on his property since the installation of the pipeline, which has reduced filter backwashing from every 40 minutes to every two and a half hours.

"This has not only given me more on-farm efficiency, it also increases the longevity and the lifespan of my filters, thereby reducing costs," he said.

Federal Member for Mallee Andrew Broad said the initiative was already delivering benefits to irrigators across the Mildura, Red Cliffs and Merbein districts.

"This project is helping around 2000 irrigators across Sunraysia to increase productivity while using less water, and will promote sustainable growth and development in the region for many decades to come," Broad said.

The upcoming second stage of the project will assess the feasibility of options for irrigation infrastructure to grow the Sunraysia economy and provide increased water security during sustained dry conditions.