The Macalister Irrigation District is the largest irrigation district in southern Victoria. The district has secure water supplies supplemented by good rainfall, productive soils, a strong dairy sector and developing vegetable and cropping industries. Estimates put annual economic contribution in excess of $500M per year.
Further investment was needed to enable customers to implement best-practice water use and improve farm productivity.
Southern Rural Water is modernising the district through a combination of pipelining, channel automation and regulator upgrades. More than $92M in works are being completed during Phase 1A ($32M) and Phase 1B ($60M). Combined, these two phases will improve availability and service for customers and provide 22,000 Megalitres (22 Gigalitres) of water savings to be made available for irrigation use within the district.
The overall MID2030 modernisation program has been broken into Phases to focus on work which brings the greatest value in water savings and service improvements. The first two Phases together prioritised:
- further automation of channel regulating structures in three zones
- constructing a balancing storage
- some outlet modernisation and rationalization
- pipelining and channel automation of one full supply zone
Benefits of the projects 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