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Water is the ‘lifeblood’ of the Macalister Irrigation District, and a new Southern Rural Water winter maintenance program is ensuring everything flows smoothly this season.

Under the Lifeblood program, SRW staff completed a total of 583 jobs between 15 May and the start of the irrigation season, including:

  • 240 jobs covering system automation, including water level sensor cleaning, software upgrades and flume gate changes
  • 148 jobs in the North Eastern area, including extensive cleaning works
  • 78 jobs in the Nambrok area
  • 117 jobs in the Southern area, including widespread use of the excavator.

“We report, prioritise and action tasks to eliminate anything that will have a negative effect on customer experience – ensuring our maintenance program is putting problems that impact customers first,” he said.

Manager Water Supply East, Terry Clapham, said the Lifeblood program promoted a culture of zero tolerance to anything which might impact channel performance.

Mr Clapham said weed spraying was an important annual task, while silt removal had been given a renewed focus in the MID. “Through modernisation of the district, we can now see what silt and weed do to our channel performance. Removal is now a huge priority and the Lifeblood program is providing the tools for us to do it.

“This season, the teams completed a total of more than 32km of channel cleaning across the district. They did 17km in-house with hired equipment, while specialised equipment was used by contractors for the remaining 15km,” Mr Clapham said.

Other completed projects include:

  • Siphon inspections and subsequent removal of debris causing restrictions
  • Tree removal and rebuilding of channel banks
  • Channel bank inspections for seepage that can lead to failure. Seeps were detected by SRW staff during asset inspections in the irrigation season and repairs carried out during the winter.

Mr Clapham said staff had put in an outstanding effort over the winter period to improve outcomes for SRW customers.

Image 1

Technical Officers, Justin Brown and Shane Northway, install a flume gate at Cobains.

Image 3

Water Services Officer, Joel Hallam, uses a backhoe to clean channels near Sale.

Technical Officers, Justin Brown and Shane Northway, install a flume gate at Cobains.

Water Services Officer, Joe Teese, pressure cleans concrete structures at Riverslea in preparation for repair.