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With the season finishing on 15 May and resuming on 15 August 2021, Southern Rural Water is now advising local irrigators to start preparing for the winter shutdown period.

Winter works 2021

Each irrigation off-season, SRW undertakes maintenance works on the channel systems that supply our irrigation districts.

From 15 May 2021, SRW is undertaking a program of maintenance and capital works to enhance the capacity of our irrigation network.

Some of the works to be undertaken in 2021 include:

  • draining channels to remove silt build-up and other obstructions
  • treating channels with approved herbicides to remove weeds
  • repairs to various assets and structures such as outlets, crossings, drainage culverts and flow regulators, and
  • remodelling channels as part of our MID Modernisation program.

The works will be complete by early August to allow the system to be recharged and irrigation supply to recommence by 15 August 2021. The safety of our staff, customers and the local community is the priority and with a large winter works program scheduled for 2021, safety will continue to be at the forefront for the successful delivery of the winter works program this year.

Maintenance of our channel delivery network is crucial to ensuring the network provides a reliable supply during the irrigation season. Works vary from site to site and can include channel bank and gate repairs, bridge works, desilting and weed control works.

To successfully complete these works, SRW will need to drain sections of the irrigation network. This means some customers will not have access to water from the channel network and will need to make alternative arrangements for water supply during the non-irrigation period. Water supplied from the channel network is only guaranteed during the irrigation season.

An increase in road traffic may be experienced during this time so road users are encouraged to take care while travelling on roads near works sites.

Acting Manager Water Supply East, Matt Cook, said that with Lake Glenmaggie at 40% full, there was plenty of capacity for Macalister Irrigation District (MID) farmers to complete their final irrigations before the close of the season on 15 May.

He said that Lake Glenmaggie is a highly reliable storage, and irrigation demand had been slower this season, largely due to early good rainfalls.

“We had the confidence in the storage volumes to open this season with 100% allocation. And good inflows subsequently enabled MID farmers to receive spill entitlement up until 19 November last year, using 25,000 megalitres (ML) during this period. This allowed them to then ‘reset’ their allocation for 100% from 20 November onwards,” he said.

Mr Cook reminded MID stock and domestic customers that the pipeline outlets, along with channel water, are not available when the irrigation system is shutdown for winter. “Those relying on it will need to make alternative arrangements for the shutdown period to 15 August,” he said.

If irrigators have any questions about their allocation or access, please call the SRW Water Supply team on 1300 139 510.