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Central Gippsland irrigation study

Southern Rural Water has conducted a preliminary study of opportunities for future expansion of irrigated agriculture in the Latrobe, Thomson, Macalister and Avon catchments in Central Gippsland.

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

The aim of the study was to consider projects that may promote regional development and boost employment for the region in the future. It gathered information to determine whether there would be sufficient demand and economic viability for expansion.

Note that there is no funding to begin work on any projects supporting new irrigation areas at this stage.

Phase 1 of the project was completed in July 2017 and included desktop land capability and water resources assessments. These were used to select focus areas for further review.

Further assessment was undertaken through September to December 2017, including landholder consultation to understand potential demand, possible environmental risk and cultural heritage assessment and preliminary economic analysis.

Areas investigated include the east side of the Avon River; the area between Toongabbie and the Macalister Irrigation District; an area along the Latrobe River between Traralgon and Sale; and the Dutson area. Supply options considered included gravity pipelines or individuals pumping from groundwater or surface water supplies.

Some of the potential reported demand for water has come from vegetables, dairy and fodder cropping. Participants in the demand survey were generally very positive about the future of agriculture in the region.

Download the 2018  Central Gippsland irrigation study factsheet


June 2020 update:

The Victorian Government has provided $500,000 for a feasibility study to examine potential infrastructure options for expanding irrigation development in Central Gippsland – based on customer demand and willingness to invest, and water availability.

The study builds on the pre-feasibility work undertaken by Southern Rural Water in 2018 to identify potential development opportunities in the Latrobe, Thomson, Macalister and Avon catchments.

Once complete, the study will assist informed decision-making for any future strategic investment in rural water infrastructure.

Key stakeholders will help identify preferred infrastructure options based on demand and water availability.

Southern Rural Water will conduct the study and Gippsland communities will have an opportunity to provide their feedback and expertise in helping shape the work.

The work will feed into the Government’s Sustainable Water Strategy to be developed over 2020-21 in Central Victoria including Gippsland – which is a regular examination of the water resource and its management in a given region.

The study aligns with the objectives in Water for Victoria, the Government’s water plan, to support regional development, invest in infrastructure and help irrigation districts adapt to a drier climate.

April 2021 update:

Southern Rural Water (SRW) is investigating opportunities to expand irrigated agriculture in the Avon and Latrobe catchments in central Gippsland. RM Consulting Group (RMCG) is providing support to SRW for investigation of demand and willingness of potential irrigators to invest in development. This is an information-gathering study only. It is not an indication of a commitment to expanding irrigation supply into these areas.

Survey open:

If you are interested in accessing additional water for irrigation, or would like more information on the project, please fill out this survey

More information is available from Anna Kelliher at RMCG on (03) 9882 2670.


Southern Rural Water acknowledges and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and waters on which we work and live, and we respect their deep and ongoing connection to Country. For more about the First Nations peoples on whose Country we work, click here.