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Southern Rural Water’s $160m upgrade of the Macalister Irrigation District has received a high commendation in a national award for the water sector. The MID2030 modernisation program was recognised in the Customer Experience category of the Australian Water Association national awards, announced at the OzWater21 conference this week.

 The MID2030 Modernisation program has been transforming the 100-year-old gravity-fed MID system in the past few years, and continues with Phase 2 to 2024. Funded by SRW, State and Federal Governments, the pipeline, channel and outlet upgrade projects under the MID2030 program are increasing the sustainable use of water and productivity in a region that contributes $500m to the economy.

 Managing Director Cameron FitzGerald said: “This award acknowledges our unique partnership with customers, our funders and our other stakeholders in the district. The newly modernised MID supply is delivering water savings, environmental benefits and enabling customers to invest in their own on-farm improvements.”

 He said that throughout the program, SRW has built a unique partnership with MID farmers, the state and federal governments, and stakeholders such as Agriculture Victoria and West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, to achieve the project’s objectives.

 He said the MID2030 Program was an example of how projects can be successfully completed on time and on budget, and with landowner support, through collaboration. “We thank our customers and the community for their support of the modernisation works across the region, especially during construction, which often means disruption not just for the properties involved, but also the wider community.”

 The $65m Phase 1B project was a significant investment in the region during a three-year drought period, which included jobs and spend by contractors and suppliers during construction, and investment by customers post-construction. “Our customers are now investing in new irrigation infrastructure, implementing more efficient water use, and improving farm productivity, while making their businesses more climate-resilient,” Mr Cameron said.

 Winter works for Phase 2 of the modernisation program will begin at the end of this month.


Award winners

Caption: Cameron FitzGerald (pictured, right) accepting Southern Rural Water’s high commendation for the MID Modernisation program in the customer experience category.