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Central Gippsland irrigation study

Southern Rural Water is looking at opportunities to expand irrigated agriculture in the Latrobe, Thomson, Macalister and Avon catchments in Central Gippsland. The aim of the study is to consider projects that may promote regional development and boost employment for the region in the future.

This study is supported by funding from the Australian Government National Water Infrastructure Development Fund, an initiative of the Northern Australia and Agricultural Competitiveness White Papers.

This is a pre-feasibility study. We are gathering information to determine whether there is potential for irrigation to be expanded. There is no funding to begin work on any expansion into new irrigation areas at this stage.

A land capability and water resources assessment was completed in July 2017 and identified four areas of interest for potential irrigation development:

  • Latrobe River – from Glengarry to Rosedale between the river and Cairnbrook Road
  • Toongabbie – between Cowwarr Channel and Cairnbrook Road
  • Avon River – Bushy Park to Llowalong
  • Dutson – Longford to Dutson Downs

Further assessment has been undertaken through September and October, including landholder consultation to understand potential demand; concept design and costing of possible delivery infrastructure options; and preliminary economic analysis. A brief update for each area is provided overleaf.

Additional consultation activities will take place throughout the remaining weeks of November 2017, to look more closely at potential demand areas and to discuss potential water entitlement costs. RMCG will be in touch with landholders who have previously expressed interest in additional water.

Any landholders who have not yet been consulted or those who are interested in finding out more can contact Anna Kelliher from RMCG on (03) 5441 4821, or register their interest via

Toongabbie Focus Area

Demand identified in the Toongabbie area ranges from 7 GL to 10 GL. This demand is focussed in the area between Toongabbie township and the Rosedale-Heyfield Road.

Latrobe River Focus Area

Demand identified in the Latrobe River area ranges from 4 GL to 6 GL. This is in addition to existing irrigation entitlement. The demand is mainly in the eastern part of the focus area close to the MID. As such, the service area has been refined to focus on the area at the eastern end of Cairnbrook Road.

Avon River Focus Area

Demand identified to the east of the Avon River is in the vicinity of 5 GL. This is in addition to existing irrigation entitlement. The focus continues to be on the Bushy Park to Llowalong area.

Dutson Focus Area

Demand identified in the Dutson area is in the vicinity of 3 GL. This is in addition to existing groundwater entitlement.

It is expected that the Dutson area will continue to be supplied via groundwater bores. Alternative supply options have very high costs and are not considered feasible. This focus area will not be considered in further detail in this study. However, consideration will be given to expanding the groundwater management area to help facilitate trade.

Kilmany Area

As the initial consultation was unfolding, it was agreed to add the Kilmany area to our considerations.  However, the level of demand identified was relatively low, so this area is no longer being pursued. Landholders could consider accessing surface water from the Latrobe River through trade with existing licence holders.


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