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MID Salinity

About MID Salinity

Soon after irrigation began in the Nambrok-Denison area in the 1950s, low lying land began to suffer from rising groundwater levels and salt-damaged crops.

By 1959, considerable areas had been seriously affected by salinity and other areas within the Macalister Irrigation District (MID) were being affected. In 1959-1960 a system of deep surface drains, six groundwater control pumps and more than 100 free flowing bores were installed to remove saline groundwater from shallow aquifers.

In the early 1990s, land salinisation was again identified and a salinity management plan was devised. The Wellington Community Salinity Committee (previously known by different names), made up of community and agency stakeholders, was responsible for investigations into new pump sites, installing new pumps and managing the operation and maintenance of groundwater pumps.

Today there are 19 groundwater pumps in the MID and surrounds (download map below). Southern Rural Water is responsible for their operation and maintenance. The operation and maintenance costs associated with the groundwater pumps is funded through a Salinity Mitigation Rate, paid by irrigators.

The operation of the pumps is reviewed annually. Pump operation is determined using a water balance for the irrigation district, with localised factors being considered so not all pumps will necessarily be operating at the same time. To see which pumps are currently operating, please download the status map below.

Collectively the pumps help protect nearly 16,000ha of land from high water tables and land salinization. Private groundwater use also contributes and in recent years many farmers have improved their on-farm irrigation practises, reducing the volume of water entering the water table. Modernisation and a changing climate also play a role.

In 2005, the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority completed the West Gippsland Salinity Management Plan, which tackles both dryland and irrigation-induced salinity, providing a more holistic approach to salinity management throughout the region.

A network of observation bores across the Lake Wellington catchment is managed by the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority. Water level data is collected quarterly from a selection of these bores. Each year, a depth to watertable map is produced from monitoring that is conducted in January.

Drain and Reclaim Video


A short video from the late 1950’s/early 1960s depicting the development of surface and sub-surface drainage in the Nambrok-Denison area of the Macalister Irrigation District to combat water logging and salinization of the land.

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WaterMatch - online trading

Watermatch is a free online service, designed to help people trade water.

Once you have registered, you can advertise to buy or sell water.

Depending on the water that you wish to trade, choose from the Groundwater, Surface Water (rivers and creeks) and Irrigation District forum.

Select a new topic to create your ad. Your ad can be to buy or sell water, and must describe the source of your water, quantity of water you want to buy or sell, how long you want to trade for and your contact details. If you are happy to put a buying or selling price, this can be included here too.

If you want to respond to an ad, you can use the email link or contact the advertiser direct.

It is an online trading forum, and can also be used by people who are not on the internet, with help from our staff.

Watermatch allows you to register your interest in either buying or selling water in southern Victoria.

  • the Macalister, Werribee and Bacchus Marsh Irrigation District
  • Groundwater systems in southern Victoria
  • Rivers and creek systems in southern Victoria (other than those managed by Melbourne Water around the Port Phillip region).

Who can use it?
Anyone can use watermatch. You may be an existing licence holder who wants to sell water, or buy more water.

You may not currently have a licence, but you want to buy water in the region.

How does it work?

  • click here to enter Watermatch
  • register as a user (a very simple process)
  • go to the system or district you are interested in and check current entries
  • add in any entry for any water you want to sell or buy

What information should I include in my ad?

  • If you are wanting to buy or sell
  • your name
  • phone number
  • name of river, creek, groundwater management area or irrigation district
  • how much water is to be traded
  • If the trade is temporary or permanent
  • term of the trade (Maximum term is 5 years)

Things you need to know
We are always looking for ways to improve our customer service. If you would like to provide feedack or suggested improvements please click here.

it's important to note that Southern Rural Water is not acting, and will not act, as a water broker.

We cannot advise you on price of water or match you individually with a buyer/seller.

Buyers and sellers still need to go through our normal application process.

Trading applications must be submitted to Southern Rural Water and approval granted before water is taken. A water transfer application form can be downloaded from our application page.

If you want to trade upstream, please speak with one of our Assessment Officers prior to submitting an application.

To check if a buyer or seller can trade with you, call us on 1300 139 510 and ask to speak to an Assessment Officer.

Not a water broker

It's important to note that Southern Rural Water is not acting, and will not act, as a water broker.

We cannot advise you on price of water or match you individually with a buyer/seller.

Buyers and sellers still need to go through our normal application process.

Click here to download our Fact Sheet

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