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SRW customers took out two state awards in the 2018 Rural Water Awards presented at the RACV club in Melbourne on Friday, 9 November.

Two other SRW customers were state level runners-up in their categories.

Schreurs and Sons of Middle Tarwin won the Surface Water category and the Delios family’s Bacchus Marsh Strawberry Forest took out the Farm to Plate category.

Denison dairy farmers Ashley and Lisa Mezenberg were the state runner-up in the irrigation category and Philip and Patty Farnell of Wellwood Wallace Walnuts of Wallace near Ballarat were the state runner-up in the Groundwater category.

SRW Managing Director, Clinton Rodda, was delighted with the results and praised the efforts of all prize winners and finalists, whose innovative practices show a focus on sustainable use of valuable water resources.

“Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up for their willingness to try new things to create strong businesses with best practice use of their water resources,” he said.

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Deputy Secretary, Helen Vaughan, said there was no better time to focus on the ideas that ensure the agriculture industry continues to adapt to the climate challenges they face.

Adam and Chris Schreurs, of Schreurs and Sons vegetable growers, Middle Tarwin won the State award for their achievements in sustainable and efficient Surface water use.  The irrigation system at their multimillion dollar celery growing business is networked to soil moisture probes and utilises sediment drainage channels, reuse dams and a natural wetland.

Sam Dellios and family, of Bacchus Marsh, won the Farm Gate to Plate category for their vertical strawberry farm The Strawberry Forest and their farm shop The Fruits of Life. The innovative vertical strawberry planting has increased production, decreased inputs and reduced waste.

Denison dairy farmers, Ashley and Lisa Mezenberg, were runners-up in the Irrigation category.  Automation and rationalisation has improved production, reduced water usage and helped make their farms more sustainable during current drought conditions.

Philip and Patty Farnell, of Wallace near Ballarat, were runners-up in the Groundwater category for the automation and other improvements to their Wellwood Wallace Walnuts organic business. They are using drones and analysing data to identify when to water their trees, supported by off-the-shelf technology. Along with this, they are replacing old irrigation infrastructure with the overall aim to improve irrigation efficiency and return water to the market. They saved 25 megalitres (million litres) of groundwater in 2017.

The case studies, including videos, for all SRW’s winners are available at: http://www.srw.com.au/customers/casestudies/rwa-case-studies/