In May 2013, the Victorian Government announced it was providing $16M towards the modernisation of the MID, with a co-contribution of $16M from MID customers for the $32M Phase 1A project. The works, which began in 2013 and will be completed in June 2017, include:
- upgrade of regulators in the Nambrok-Denison supply system, most of the channels in the Eastern system and all of the Heyfield channels
- construction of the Willang Yarn balancing storage in Denison;
- further expansion of the outlet rationalisation and modernisation program
- detailed design of the $60M Southern Tinamba pipeline for funding in Phase 1B
Taken together, the works in Phase 1A have saved around 12,000 ML. We expect that most of this water will be offered to customers by distribution in proportion to their entitlement. Some water will be offered for sale via auction and/or a shelf price.
Some of the other benefits include:
- modernised systems for three supply zones
- reduced times between orders and delivery in modernised areas along with less shifting of orders
- on-farm benefits for modernised outlets including more consistent flow rates and higher flow rates
- more efficient irrigation practices reduce farm run-off and drain outfall, which reduces nutrients heading down to the Gippsland Lakes
- better asset conditions, investing in the district and supporting future food production
- improved safety by removing manual handling of regulator drop bars
Willang Yarn Balancing Storage
The $6M Willang Yarn balancing storage, near Denison, is a key component of the MID2030 irrigation modernisation program, which is upgrading systems to secure more efficient use of water throughout the district and more flexibility for customers. The storage is Southern Rural Water’s largest single capital project to date and a significant milestone in the $32M Macalister Irrigation District 2030 Phase 1A modernisation. The Phase 1a associated works will be complete by June 2017 and bring 12 gigalitres (12,000 megalitres) worth of water savings.
Before the balancing storage construction, the Main Southern Channel did not allow for full channel automation to be implemented, due to legacy issues associated with the long distance from Lake Glenmaggie and Thomson River and the lack of control on the Cowwarr channel. The Eastern Irrigation Business identified the storage as a high priority to better service customers in the western part of the MID.
During construction, SRW asked Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC) to suggest a name for the storage. Willang Yarn means “rain water” and representatives from GLaWAC participated in the launch, providing a Welcome to Country and conducting a Smoking Ceremony.
Some key facts about Willang Yarn:
- Footprint of 8.5 hectares
- Total volume of 186 megalitres (160 megalitres usable)
- Water can be sourced from from Lake Glenmaggie and the Thomson Dam or river
- Entirely gravity-fed: no electricity or pumps
- 1.8 metres usable head in the storage
- One of Rubicon’s most complex integration projects to date: 96 scenarios have been programmed and tested
Southern-Cowwarr Regulator Retrofit Program
Under the Southern-Cowwarr Regulator Retrofit Program Southern Rural Water plans to modernise approximately 179 regulators in Zone 4 (Nambrok-Denison) of the MID. The works will be completed over the 2014 and 2015 winter maintenance periods.
The total capital cost of the proposed project is estimated at $11.2m. In return, the project is expected to produce water savings of 4,075ML as well as improved levels of customer service.
Eastern Regulator Retrofit Program
Under the Eastern Regulator Retrofit Program, SRW modernised approximately 107 regulators in Zone 5 (Eastern) of the MID. The works will be completed over the 2014 and 2015 winter maintenance periods.
The total capital cost of the proposed project is estimated at $6.05M. In return, the project is expected to produce water savings of 3,875ML as well as improved levels of customer service.
MID 2030 Leading Works Program
The Leading Works Program was a $5M investment in the modernisation of the MID, consisting of the following projects:
- Nambrok-Denison Stage 1 and 2 Regulator Retrofit Programs
- Eastern Stage 1 and 2 Regulator Retrofit Programs
- Stage 1 and 2 of the Outlet Rationalisation Program
- Heyfield Regulator Retrofit Program
- Design and construction of the Southern-Cowwarr Balancing Storage
- Southern-Tinamba Outlet Rationalisation Investigation
- Southern-Tinamba Prototype Outlet Investigation