Southern Rural Water has recently produced a video highlighting some of the significant environmental improvements that have been achieved in the Macalister Irrigation District (MID).
The MID is the largest irrigation district in southern Victoria with dairying, grazing and vegetable production worth in excess of $500 million per annum.
Agricultural runoff, particularly nutrients from the district, have been identified as one of a number of contributing factors to algal blooms in the Gippsland Lakes.
Local farmers, Southern Rural Water, the Department of Environment and Primary Industries, West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority and the EPA have been working together to save more than 29,000 million litres of water and reduce phosphorous discharges by over 100 tonnes per annum from the Macalister Irrigation District.
Many farmers are modernising their farms installing new irrigation systems and reuse schemes. This enables greater water savings on-farm and a reduction in nutrient discharges from their properties.
Southern Rural Water has started a major modernisation program to improve supply efficiency and reduce water losses from the district, which again helps to reduce nutrient discharges by limiting discharges into and from its drains.
These initiatives are helping to protect both the long term viability of a premier irrigation district, and the health of the iconic Gippsland Lakes.