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Macalister Irrigation District


History

From the earliest days of white settlement after 1839, it was realised the region offered some of Australia’s most valuable grazing land. But the early settlers were at the mercy of rivers that dried up one year and flooded the next, and rainfall that came – or failed to come – in the most unpredictable way.

The first significant irrigation projects in Victoria began in the north west of the state around the turn of the century as a means of regulating the water supply. In the Macalister region, however, the first steps towards providing water for irrigation were taken in 1912 when the Water Commission became responsible for “closer settlement” – the name given to the process of encouraging people to relocate to and open up rural Victoria.

The Commission was asked by the Department of Agriculture to investigate providing temporary works to supply water to the sugar beet areas of Boisdale. Surveys were also made in that year to enable estimates to be prepared for a scheme to serve 2,400 hectares at Kilmany Park near Sale.
A study of possible storage sites on one of the major rivers was initiated in 1914 following the disastrous drought of that year. The First World War intervened, however, and it was not until 1920 that a dam was begun on the Macalister River near the junction of Bradleys Creek, to be known as the Glenmaggie Dam. The Macalister was selected because it has a much larger average annual flow than the nearby Avon River.In the meantime, surveys were made to determine the feasibility of an irrigation scheme in the Maffra district to aid the sugar beet industry.

In 1919, Maffra landholders supported a proposal to supply water to irrigate an area of 9,000 hectares on the Avon flats, including Boisdale and the Newry and Maffra flats on the northern side of the Macalister River. This resulted in first priority being given to the construction in 1924 of the Main Northern Channel to supply the Boisdale and Newry River flats. A feature of that channel was its location in hill country on the northern fringe of the district. Very careful attention had to be given to the earthworks and the many water courses that had to be crossed with siphons (water carrying tunnels). By 1926, the Glenmaggie Dam was sufficiently advanced for water to be supplied to 3,600 hectares in Boisdale, Airly, Cobains and other estates near Sale.
The Maffra and Sale Irrigation and Water Supply Districts, which then totalled 14,000 hectares, were constituted in 1927. At this time, proposals to supply Tinamba and the towns of Sale, Maffra and Heyfield were also being considered.

With the completion of the Glenmaggie Dam to crest level in 1929, the area under irrigation was progressively extended. To overcome problems of drainage, the Boisdale and Nuntin flats were drained to Nuntin Creek and the Sale and Bundalaguah areas to Lake Wellington . The Main Nuntin and Airly-Nuntin Drains were completed in 1930 and Myrtlebank Drain in 1931. By 1933 the area under irrigation was approximately 7,400 hectares, served by 310 kilometres of channels and 90 kilometres of drains.
The Maffra and Sale Districts were united to form the Maffra-Sale Irrigation District in 1935. After irrigation began, the area sown with sugar beet increased from 820 hectares in 1927 to 1,600 hectares in 1940. The amount of beet that was treated rose from around 20,000 tonnes per annum to over 40,000 tonnes in 1940. In the early 1940s however, butterfat prices began to increase and dairy farming became more profitable. The production of sugar beet declined and eventually ceased altogether in 1945, following which the processing factory was removed.

In 1942 a report was prepared for a Parliamentary Public Works committee on the utilisation of the waters of the Thomson River and their potential for irrigation of 24,000 hectares of land in the Nambrok and Denison areas, between the Thomson and Latrobe Rivers. These works were undertaken as part of the Central Gippsland Project, commenced in 1952 and completed in 1958.
The Maffra-Sale Irrigation District was also extended in 1952 to include the Nuntin, Clydebank and West Boisdale areas, but it had become evident that the storage capacity of Lake Glenmaggie would be inadequate to meet both existing commitments and the projected requirements of the new Nambrok-Denison Scheme. Investigations were therefore made into the construction of crest gates on the Glenmaggie Dam and of a weir on the Macalister River at Maffra.

This weir, the Maffra Weir, was a vertical lift gated structure completed in 1954. It enabled flows from the Macalister River to be diverted into the Main Eastern Channel (constructed in 1958) to join with the Main Sale and Main Airly channels. These works removed the overloading on the Main Northern System by supplying the Airly, Sale and The Heart areas.

Lake Glenmaggie was enlarged from 130,800 megalitres to 190,410 megalitres by the addition of crest gates completed in 1957. This was followed by construction of the Cowwarr Weir on the Thomson River in 1959, to divert water to the Central Gippsland Irrigation Area along the Cowwarr Channel to supplement water from Lake Glenmaggie. The weir also maintains a supply of water in the old course of the Thomson River after a permanent breakaway course – Rainbow Creek – was formed during a severe flood in 1956.

In 1959, the Maffra-Sale and Central Gippsland Irrigation Districts were amalgamated to form the Macalister Irrigation District as it now exists, and the two former districts became irrigation areas within the district.


Operations

To distribute irrigation water from Lake Glenmaggie three main channels have been built – the Main Northern, the Main Southern and the Main Eastern. Construction began on the Main Northern Channel in the 1920s; the first delivery of water was made in 1925 to the Boisdale area, and within a few years the northern channel system had been extended to near Sale.

These years also saw the construction of the Main Southern Channel, which irrigates the area north of Tinamba. In 1939, it was extended to the Riverslea area and in 1952 was taken under the Thomson River via a 1,800 mm diameter pipe 1.3 km long, to the Nambrok-Denison area and to the east of Heyfield. Under a Soldier Settlement Scheme, 131 farms were laid out around Nambrok. Water was first taken there from Glenmaggie in 1952.

Eight years later, the Cowwarr Weir was constructed on the Thomson River six miles west of Heyfield, together with the Cowwarr Channel which augments irrigation supplies to the Nambrok Denison area when there are sufficient flows in the Thomson River. Today the Macalister Irrigation District has 660 kilometers of supply channels and 490 kilometers of drainage channels.

The Main Eastern Channel was built in 1958, following the construction of Maffra Weir on the Macalister River. This channel takes water from the weir to irrigators between Maffra and Sale.

Like Bacchus Marsh and Werribee Irrigation Districts, the MID is a gravity irrigation district and relies on upstream heads of water to move supply through the channels and pipes to the customer.

Water is ordered by customers through Southern Rural Water’s Waterline ordering system and delivered by our Water Services Officers through a complex series of checks, regulators and valves. This brings the water to the “farm gate”, where it is measured by a Dethridge wheel or Flume Gate on open channels or a standard flow meter on pipelines. From here it is directed by the customer to the on-farm irrigation systems.

Prices for water in the Macalister Irrigation District are determined by the Essential Services Commission following recommendation by the Southern Rural Water Board. This recommendation is made following consultation with the Macalister Customer Consultative Committee, which is made up of irrigators from within the district.

The irrigation season runs from 15 August to 15 May, although if supply and weather conditions are favourable, early starts and extensions beyond the scheduled close down are arranged.


How to order water

Irrigation water can be ordered over the phone or online using Waterline, SRW’s Water Order System.
Customers must have a valid user number and PIN number to access these services.

Water orders must be placed three days in advance, to allow for orders to be planned and delivered efficiently. Customers under the Demand Management System (DMS) in the MID can place orders with shorter notice.

What is Waterline?
Waterline is our Water Ordering System for customers.

Through Waterline, customers are able to:

  • Place irrigation orders.
  • Enter meter readings (online only)
  • Communicate with planners.
  • Access water usage details.


Ordering Water Online
Go to www.srw.com.au/worder/ and follow the instructions below:

  1. Type in your User Number and PIN Number
  2. Select your required option from the Orders main menu drop down list
  3. Enter in the details as required
  4. When placing repeating orders, only one panel of duration and flow rate needs to be filled in as data is contained in each repeat
  5. Before lodging your order, make sure that dates and times are correct
  6. You may move between the various pages by selecting from the main menu, or use the back and forward arrow buttons on your browser.

When you have finished lodging your order or completed your enquiries, select log off from the top right of the screen.

Ordering Water by Phone
Waterline can be accessed by dialling 1300 360 117.

  • Key in your User Number then press “#”
  • Key in your PIN Number then press “#”
  • Select from the following functions:

1# To place a regular order
2# To find out start times
3# To speak to a planner
4# To leave a message for a planner
5# To use special functions (change PIN; enter special orders; find out entitlement details)
6# To change lodged DMS orders (cancel; change start/finish or flow rate; emergency stop)
9# To speak to an operator
0# To end the call.


Channel emptying for end of season

At the end of the irrigation season all channels in the Macalister Irrigation District are drained to allow for essential winter maintenance works, MID2030 project works and carp removal to be completed.
Customers that require water during the winter period from 15 may until 15 August will need to arrange alternate stock and domestic supply.


Private works

If you want to do works around (near, on or over) infrastructure controlled by Southern Rural Water – including open channels, pipelines and drains – you will need a licence to construct and use private works.

These structures can include:

  • Occupational crossings
  • Siphons
  • New or replacement outlets
  • Power or water lines
  • Pivot crossings
  • Or any other structures

How do I apply for a licence?

  • Contact our Assets Officer to discuss your plan. This will include an on-site meeting.
  • Submit an application form: Request for the Approval of Private Works (no payment is needed up front)
  • If approved, we will send you a written agreement with a request for fees for you to sign and send back with payment
  • Once we have received this and approved the agreement, works can start
  • During the project, our Assets Officer will inspect regularly to check progress and that you are complying with specifications.

Security deposit

Part of the fee is a security deposit, which we will refund when the project is completed to the required standard and specifications.

Compliance

Please note that failure to comply with our processes and requirements is a breach of Section 148 of the Water Act 1989, and could result in prosecution.



Fees - Macalister Irrigation Area

Water share fees

High Reliability $13.00
This is an annual fee for your high-reliability water shares water shares. These fees reflect the costs of operating, maintaining and renewing the reservoirs in which your water shares are harvested and stored.

Low Reliability $6.50
This is an annual fee for your low-reliability water shares water shares. These fees reflect the costs of operating, maintaining and renewing the reservoirs in which your water shares are harvested and stored.

Service point fee  

Infrastructure Fee $5,065.00
This fee reflects the costs of operating, maintaining, renewing and upgrading the delivery systems – channels, pipelines and regulators – that we use to distribute your water. This fee does not apply to river diverters who hold extraction shares (not delivery shares).

Standard $220.00
This fee apply to each service point associated with your delivery share, and reflect the costs of operating and maintaining your outlet.

Standard (shared) $160.00
This fee apply to each service point associated with your delivery share, and reflect the costs of operating and maintaining your outlet. Where outlets are shared by more than one delivery share, the charge is calculated at 80% of the listed fee.

Pump $105.00
This fee apply to each service point associated with your extraction share, and reflect the costs of maintaining your meter.

Pump (shared) $84.00
This fee apply to each service point associated with your extraction share, and reflect the costs of maintaining your meter. Where outlets are shared by more than one delivery share, the charge is calculated at 80% of the listed fee.

River $102.50
This fee apply to each service point associated with your extraction share, and reflect the costs of maintaining your meter.

River (shared) $82.00
This fee apply to each service point associated with your extraction share, and reflect the costs of maintaining your meter. Where outlets are shared by more than one delivery share, the charge is calculated at 80% of the listed fee.

Unmetered $47.00

Unmetered (shared) $37.60

Standard $9.95
Water usage charges are billed in August for each ML of water delivered during the irrigation season – regardless of whether that water was allocated against high or low reliability water shares, or against spill entitlement. This is a variable charge calculated on the amount of water you use each season.

River $9.95
Water usage charges are billed in August for each ML of water delivered during the irrigation season – regardless of whether that water was allocated against high or low reliability water shares, or against spill entitlement. This is a variable charge calculated on the amount of water you use each season.

Fee Casual Use $52.00
The casual use fee may be charges where usage exceeds 270 times your delivery share rate (expressed in ML/per day) – or where no delivery share is held. Casual use charges will also incur the $9.95 standard fee for every ML used as well as the $50.00 casual use charge. Casual use charges are not applicable to extraction shares.

Other

Drainage Diversion $18.70
This fee is for irrigators who hold agreements to divert water from the irrigation drainage system. This is ‘opportunistic’ access to water when available in the drainage system, and no entitlement to water is held. The fee will be charged on the basis of $ per ML outlined in your Drainage Diversion Agreement.


Treating weeds in irrigation channels in the MID

Weeds block the flow of water in our irrigation channels. This prevents us from giving good service to our customers. Weeds need to be removed by machines or treated with herbicide.

At times, we treat weeds that float or grow under water with a herbicide. This is the best way for us to prevent weeds causing water delivery problems. The herbicide we use is called Acrolein. Here are some answers to common questions about Acrolein and our use of it.

What is Acrolein?

Acrolein is an herbicide used worldwide to control submerged and floating weeds in irrigation channels.

This treatment has been used in Australia since 1977. Southern Rural Water (SRW) has used this many times to control weeds in its irrigation channels.

Acrolein is registered with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) and the United States Environment Protection Agency for the control of submerged weeds.

Treating weeds in irrigation channels in the MID

Weeds block the flow of water in our irrigation channels. This prevents us from giving good service to our customers. Weeds need to be removed by machines or treated with herbicide.

At times, we treat weeds that float or grow under water with a herbicide. This is the best way for us to prevent weeds causing water delivery problems. The herbicide we use is called Acrolein. Here are some answers to common questions about Acrolein and our use of it.

Why did Southern Rural Water decide to use this particular herbicide?

Herbicide is the most effective way of dealing with weeds growing in the channels.

Mechanical removal requires weeds to grow before they can be removed. It is very slow, damages channels and is only partly effective.

Acrolein is the only herbicide approved by the APVMA for use in Australia to treat these types of weeds.

Why does this herbicide need to be used now?

Weeds tend to grow when the weather gets warmer. Treating in late Spring and Summer will limit the weed growth.

Will customers and the community be notified of the treatment?

Yes, each time this product is used, Southern Rural Water:

  • Notifies the public by a public notice in the Gippsland Times
  • Writes to customers whose properties adjoin the section of channel we will be treating.

How is the herbicide used in the channels?

The channel where the herbicide is added is blocked off.

During the process Southern Rural Water will:

  • Test water to keep an eye on the Acrolein levels as they reduce to zero
  • Ensure that the treated water returns to normal
  • Not release any water from outfalls into natural waterways for 72 hours, as a safeguard.

How does SRW ensure that no herbicide reaches waterways?

We shut off all spur channels and outfalls and place them in a locked mode to prevent them from being operated automatically. This means the doors can only be re-opened manually on site, when the process is finished.

We also place temporary earthen dams in the drains leading to waterways, just in case water leaks past the outfall doors.

What action will SRW take to prevent spillage?

The herbicide can only be removed from its cylinder (fitted with safety valves) by pumping in dry nitrogen as a propellant. The herbicide is added into the channel.

This herbicide is transported in vehicles, equipped with fittings to ensure cylinders cannot tip over or be damaged.

It is highly unlikely a spill will occur, but if it does we carry spill containment equipment and soda ash to absorb it.

Do other organisations use Acrolein?

Yes, Acrolein is used extensively in Australia and other countries to control weed growth in irrigation channels.

How does Acrolein work?

Magnacide H, with Acrolein, is a non-selective biocide that attacks and alters the cell structure of plants reliant on dissolved oxygen in water. It is toxic to fish and crustaceans who also take dissolved oxygen from water through their gill-based respiratory system.

Acrolein acts as a “chemical mower”, stripping plants at the base. It does not get rid of the root system, and weeds will regrow.

What weeds are being targeted in the channels?

This type of treatment is for submersed aquatic weeds such as ribbon weed and floating clubrush.

What are the likely effects on humans if they come into direct contact with the herbicide?

When used correctly, Acrolein does not have any long-term effects on people or the environment.

To minimise any risk, Southern Rural Water recommends that during the process:

  • Don’t come in contact with channel water
  • Don’t swim in channels (any time!)
  • If you need to work next to or near channels, do so before the process or wait until afterwards
  • If this is not possible contact Southern Rural Water for further information
  • Seek medical advice if contact occurs.

What do I do if my child or I swallow treated water from channels?

Do not induce vomiting. Call the 13 11 26 Victorian Poisons Hotline which will advise you what to do next.

Is it likely to affect stock if they drink or enter treated water?

At the concentration levels we use it is highly unlikely that stock will suffer any effects, but as a precaution, we recommend you do not use channel water for domestic and stock use until 72 hours after the start of the process.

What happens if my dog inadvertently swims or drinks from the channel?

Again, it is highly unlikely your dog will be affected. If your dog does show signs of distress, please do not encourage it to vomit.

Contact your veterinary clinic straight away.

Is it safe to use treated water for irrigation?

Yes, it is safe to use the water for irrigation on pastures, vegetables, fodder crops or vineyards. There is no withholding time for either pasture irrigation or stock which has grazed irrigated pastures.

SRW recommends you continue irrigation during this period.

Will Acrolein kill fish?

Fish are very sensitive to this herbicide, with their gill-based respiratory system having a similar cell structure to the submerged weeds. We expect that all fish in the channels where we use Acrolein will die.

We have learned from previous use nearly all killed fish are European Carp.

What happens if fish are killed and washed down the channels system near my property?

Southern Rural Water will remove fish killed in the process. Water Services Officers will patrol the channel with nets to collect fish remains for 1 week after.

Customers and community members should contact us if they see dead fish in a channel.

Acrolein Material Safety Data Sheet (PDF 29 Kb)


Facts and Figures

The Macalister Irrigation District (MID) is the largest irrigation district in Southern Victoria, situated around Maffra in central Gippsland. The MID sources its water from the Macalister River, via Lake Glenmaggie, and from the Thomson River, via Cowwarr Weir.

The region has productive soils, a strong dairy sector, and developing vegetable and cropping industries. Approximately 33,500 ha is currently used for irrigation and of this, 90% is under pasture.

The irrigation season runs from 15 August to 15 May.

As at January 2013

District
Total area of the district: 54,753 ha
Total area under irrigation: 33,500 ha

Customers
No of customers (with Allocation Bank Accounts ABAs): 1,167
No of service point operators: 695

Water Entitlements

Overall
Total of high reliability water shares: 146,367 ML

Customers
Customers with 2.2 ML or < 220
Customers with 2.3 ML to 9.9 ML 91
Customers with 10 ML to 49.9 ML 227
Customers with 50 ML to 99.9 ML 201
Customers with 100 ML to 199.9 ML 212
Customers with 200 ML to 299.9 ML 91
Customers with 300 ML to 499.9 ML 70
Customers with 500 ML or > 55

Area
Nambrok: 46,000 ML (37% of district)
Tinamba: 23,000 ML (19% of district)
Northern: 31,000 ML (25% of district)
Eastern: 23,000 ML (19% of district)
Thomson River and Rainbow Creek: 18,000 ML (outside of MID)
Macalister River: 4,000 ML (outside of MID)
Cowwarr Channel: 1,000 ML (outside of MID)

Assets
No of outlets: 2,160 approx.
Total length of channels: 592 km
Total length of pipes: 39 km
Total length of drains: 411 km


Location


The largest irrigation area south of the Great Dividing Range, the Macalister Irrigation District (MID) is located in central Gippsland, south-east of Melbourne, and takes its name from the Macalister River, the main source of the district’s irrigation water.

The MID extends around the river for 53,000 ha from Lake Glenmaggie to near Sale. Approximately 33,500 ha is currently used for irrigation, and of this 90% is under pasture.

The main town in the MID and its business heart is Maffra, where Southern Rural Water has its head office and where the Murray Goulburn Cooperative processes much of the milk produced by the MID’s dairy farmers.


Things you need to do when buying a new property

If you are thinking about buying a property with a water licence or entitlement, read this first.

Beware, licences or water shares are not always transferred on the sale of property

A water licence or allocation may not automatically transfer with the sale of a property. We strongly suggest that this is clarified with your agent or solicitor and noted in the contract of sale prior to signing property purchase documents.

This includes water from:

  • irrigation channels
  • drains
  • rivers
  • bores
  • farm dams
  • domestic and stock licences

Make sure you, your solicitor or agent applies for an Information Statement. This will verify details about:

  • existing licences, (inc drainage diversion agreements) conditions and encumbrances
  • property location
  • licensed volume and use (from a river, dam or bore)
  • water shares and allocation (if in an irrigation district)
  • delivery shares and water use licences/registrations (if in an irrigation district)
  • tariffs applicable
  • any outstanding debt

A properly completed transfer application form must be submitted to Southern Rural Water before a licence or water share will be transferred regardless of what appears in a sale contract. Without the approval from Southern Rural Water, you will have no legal access to water.

What do I do if I don’t have the authority to take and use water?

You need to follow up with your solicitor or agent and check whether the licence or water entitlement was included in the contract of sale. If it was then you will need to complete an application form to transfer the entitlement. All current licence holders (the seller) as well as all proposed new licence holders (the buyer) must sign this form.

If the licence wasn’t included in the contract of sale, you should phone Southern Rural Water on 1300 139 510. You may be able to obtain a new licence, depending on your location. Otherwise you will need to secure a volume or entitlement through a temporary or permanent transfer.

All applications need to be submitted to Southern Rural Water for assessment. Transfer applications are not always approved.

More information
For more information, application forms or fact sheets, phone SRW on 1300 139 510 or visit our website www.srw.com.au

Download Factsheet


Things you need to do when selling or advertising a property for sale

If you are thinking about selling or advertising a property for sale with a water licence or entitlement, read this first. You may be able to keep your licence even though you are selling your land.

Be clear about what you are selling or advertising

Make sure you, your solicitor or agent applies for an Information Statement. This will verify details about:

  • existing licences, conditions and encumbrances
  • property location
  • licensed volume and use (from a river, dam or bore)
  • water allocation (if in an irrigation district)
  • works that are required to be carried out
  • tariffs applicable
  • any outstanding debt

Be clear about what you are selling. We strongly suggest that this is clarified with your agent or solicitor and noted in the con- tract of sale before advertising the property.

This includes water from:

  • irrigation channels
  • drains
  • rivers
  • bores
  • farm dams
  • domestic and stock licences

A properly completed transfer application form must be submitted to Southern Rural Water before a licence or water share can be considered for transfer. Without the approval from Southern Rural Water, the new purchaser will have no legal access to water. All current licence holders (the seller) as well as all proposed new licence holders (the buyer) must sign this form.

All applications need to be submitted to Southern Rural Water for assessment. Transfer applications are not always approved. 

More information
For more information contact us on 1300 139 510 or visit www.srw.com.au

Download Factsheet


Lake Glenmaggie managing floods

 

The Macalister Irrigation Area (MIA) is a vital part of Gippsland’s local economy. The dairy industry produces some 400,000,000 litres of milk, returns around $150 million at the farm gate and grosses approximately $500 million annually. The MIA also supports other important industries including vegetable and beef production and fodder cropping. It is estimated that these activities generate almost $650 million into the local economy. 

The success of the irrigation area requires a secure and reliable water resource. The primary source of water for the MIA is Lake Glenmaggie, which sources its water from the Macalister River catchment, located to the north of the storage. Lake Glenmaggie is relatively unique amongst large storages in Victoria, in that it fills and spills on average in nine out of ten years. As a comparison, the Thomson reservoir, Melbourne’s primary water source, has a catchment area only 25% of Lake Glenmaggie but has a storage capacity five times greater.

Lake Glenmaggie was built in the 1920s and its height was raised in the 1950s with the establishment of 14 flood gates. These gates can only be operated when the reservoir level reaches 119,174 ML, or about 70% of capacity.

Large river flows leading to floods are not uncommon on Gippsland rivers and they occur regularly. Flood severity is increased when bushfires reduce the vegetation in the catchment, as we experienced in the 2006/07 bushfires.

When floods occur, we have a number of objectives to meet – ensuring the safe operation of Glenmaggie Dam, retaining water for future irrigation and to manage the effects of flooding downstream. Lake Glenmaggie’s large catchment means that river flows can be quite extreme, so even when the reservoir is only partly full we can have limited ability to reduce the impact of floods downstream. At such times, we work with the emergency services agencies to help ensure that downstream communities are well informed.

Where the risk of a rainfall event is identified, we maintain close contact with the Bureau of Meteorology to understand what is expected and the maximum rainfall that is forecast. We also review different scenarios for the runoff and likely inflows from the expected and maximum rainfall. At this stage we also undertake the necessary staffing arrangements to run our operations 24 hours a day.

During a rainfall event we are constantly planning for releases from the storage. These are based on actual and expected rainfall levels, stream flow measurements taken upstream from Lake Glenmaggie and calculated inflows into Lake Glenmaggie, based on the actual storage level. Our objective is always to reduce the severity and duration of any flood. 

Leading up to and during flood events we work closely with the Bureau of Meteorology, State Emergency Service and other emergency services to provide regular updates on the current and projected situation, and to assist them with setting actions, such as warnings, public meetings and evacuations where required. We also support the Macalister flood warden system – set up for the community, by the community following the 1971 floods.

We strongly recommend that if you are in a flood prone area that you and your family should familiarise yourself with the SES’s “Flood Safe information brochure” and take all necessary precautions.

More information
For more information, contact us on 1300 139 510 or visit.srw.com.au

Download Factsheet

Safe Handling of drop bars and meter outlet doors

Approved customers have the ability to add or remove drop bars at regulators or meter outlet doors, in order to regulate water supply to their properties.

Given this, it is important that that customers understand the correct way of handling drop bars to ensure the task is done in a safe and effective manner. It is extremely important to us that everyone is who is permitted to access or operate our structures does so in a safe and cautious manner.

Please take the time to read and understand the correct way in which to handle drop bars. By following the step-by step instructions below, you will greatly reduce the risks associated with operating drop bars and meter outlet doors.

Key points for the safe operation of check bar regulators

  • Bars should be inserted with the lifting pin located on the left (looking upstream) for right handed people and on the right for left handed people. Ideally, bars should have pins fitted to both ends of the timber In most cases, single pin bars can be turned upside down to make them ‘left-handed’ or ‘right- handed’;
  • the safest way to remove bars is by using a ‘bar hook;
  • the regulator or ‘check’ should be fitted with appropriate hand/safety railing and have safe access;
  • manual handling techniques (bending knees and keeping a straight back during lifts) should always be used;
  • the platform surface should be non-slip, even in wet conditions
  • check bars are usually covered in a slippery slime and must be handled with care;
  • non slip safety footwear in good condition should be worn when working on all SRW structures; and
  • unused bars should be stored in racks, where provided.

Removing or inserting bars without a bar hook

In most situations where customers remove or replace bars themselves, it is usually only the top one or two bars that need to be moved. More often than not, these bars are easily reached without a hook and are probably more safely handled by kneeling on the platform and manipulated by hand.

There will be some degree of adhesion to the bar below and breaking the seal can usually be achieved by levering the bar backward or forward using a shovel. Once the seal is broken, bars are more easily removed, but please be aware that bars are usually covered in slime and are very slippery when wet.

Removing bars by hand

  1. Check there are no tripping hazards on or around the area you need to work.
  2. Using a shovel and standing directly over the bars, lever or exercise the top bar to break the seal. If the seal is not broken first, bars can come away with a sudden thrust, causing the operator to lose balance.
  3. Kneel on the platform at one end (not in the centre) and support yourself with one hand, while reaching down to the bar.
  4. Take hold of the bar – preferably by the lifting pin – and straighten up to a point where you have regained a good balance.
  5. At this point, and while still on your knees, move more to the centre and use both hands to lift the bar out of the water (remembering it will be slippery).
  6. Complete the lift of the bar out of the slots and place on the platform in front of you.
  7. Stand and reposition yourself so that you can now perform a safe lift, by keeping your back straight and bending your knees.
  8. Pick up and place the bar in the racks. If racks are not provided, store them in an area where they will not become a tripping hazard.

Removing bars using a hook

  1. Check there are no tripping hazards on or around the area you need to work.
  2. Bend your knees to form a squatting position and hook the bar hook onto the left-hand pin (for right-handed operators) or vice-versa for left handed people.
  3. Crack the seal between the top bar and the one underneath by rocking the hook backward and forward. If the seal is not broken first, bars can come away with a sudden thrust, causing the operator to lose balance.
  4. Prepare to lift the bar using one hand while steadying yourself with the other. While keeping your back straight, straighten the knees until the end you are lifting is clear of the guide slot, and out of the water.
  5. Using the bar hook with both hands, place the bar on the platform and then remove the bar hook from the bar.
  6. Remembering to bend your knees and keep your back straight, pick the bar up and place in the racks by hand (remembering it will be slippery). If racks are not provided, store them in an area where they will not become a tripping hazard.

Important note

If the end of the bar dislodges from the guide slot during the removal operation – do not try to retrieve it as part of that operation. Abandon the operation and remove the hook. Try to dislodge the bar so as it washes downstream, where it can be retrieved later.

Adding drop bars

  1. Check there are no tripping hazards on or around the area you need to work.
  2. Approach bar rack and pick up a suitable bar with both hands, holding it close to your body.
  3. Go to the guide slot, bend your knees (perhaps kneel on the platform, more so if working at night) and carefully drop the bar down the guides to meet the water evenly.
  4. Stand up, and using your bar-hook or shovel on the centre of the bar, push it firmly home.


Opening of meter outlet doors

When opening meter outlet doors, always use the correct manual handling technique:

  1. Lift at one side of the door to crack the seal using a smooth application of force.
  2. Level the door by lifting other side.
  3. Use the leg muscles to lift the door from the centre, in a smooth manner.

Further Assistance

We can help to ensure you are working with drop bars safely by providing:

  • a bar hook;
  • suitable hand rails or barriers;
  • on-site demonstrations;
  • safe access;
  • bar racks; and
  • dual pinned bars, so they can be lifted from either end.

More information
For more information contact us on 1300 139 510, or your planner on 1300 360 117.

Download Factsheet


A guide to using waterline

Waterline is our water ordering centre for customers in our irrigation districts. You can use it to order irrigation water over thephone or online.

To access Waterline, you must have a valid user number and PIN number. If you don’t have a user number and PIN, please contact Southern Rural Water on 1300 139 510.

What can I do through Waterline?

Through Waterline, you can:

Place irrigation orders
Enter you meter readings
communicate with planners
access your water usage details

If you are on our Demand Management System (DMS) you can also use Waterline to:

Confirm orders at time of placement (no need to call back)
Easily alter a start or finish time without speaking with a planner.

How to order water by phone if you are a DMS customer:

Waterline options are slightly different for DMS customers. Choosing option 6 from the main menu allows you to change your lodged orders:

OPTION 1# To cancel an order - use this option when you want to cancel an order which has not yet started.
OPTION 2# To change the start time of an order - use this option when you wish to alter the start time of your outlet (delay or bring forward).
OPTION 3# To change the finish time of an operating order - use this option to alter the finish time of an operating order (shorten or lengthen).
OPTION 4# To change the flow rate of an operating order - use this when you would like to alter the flow rate of an operating order (reduce or increase).

DMS is an automated system that allows you to lodge the time and day that you want to use water. All orders are confirmed at time of placement – no need to call back.

If the demand is too high during the time you have requested, DMS will calculate the next best available time. It will ask you to either accept or reject that offer.

If you reject that offer, the order will be marked as unsatisfied and will be manually scheduled by a planner.

DMS is automatically configured to your outlets, so you won’t have to enter any new information. DMS requires a minimum of 24 hours’ notice to place an order.

In case where you require your delivery stopped sooner than 60 minutes, please contact your planner or the Duty Officer
on 0412 860 250.

How to order water by phone (non DMS customers):

To order water by phone: • dial 1300 360 117 • key in your user number, then press # • key in your PIN number, then press # • select from the following functions: 1# to place a regular order 2# to find out start times 3# to speak to a planner 4# to leave a message for a planner 5# to use special functions eg. find out entitlement details 6# option for DMS customers 7# to enter meter readings 9# to speak to an operator 0# to end the call.

How to order water online (all customers):

To order water online:

• visit www.srw.com.au/worder/
• type in your user number and PIN number
• select your required option from the main menu drop down box
• type in details as required
• you may move between various pages by selecting from the main menu or use the back and forward arrow buttons on your browser
• when placing repeating orders, only one panel of duration and flow rate needs to be filled in as it is repeating this data
• before lodging your order, make sure that dates and times are correct
• when you have finished lodging your order, or completed your enquiry, select log off from the right of the screen.

Please telephone your planner via Waterline (1300 360 117) for more information or help with your water ordering needs.

Entering metering readings through water line

This service allows you to manage your water allocation effectively and accurately. By getting rid of the ordered estimate section on your Water Usage Reports, you will have a better idea of your total water usage to date.

To enter your meter readings online:
• visit www.srw.com.au/worder/
• type in your user number and PIN number
• Select “Meter Reading Entry”
• Select “Service Point” from the drop down list
• Enter date of your meter reading
• Enter the time of your meter reading from the drop down boxes (hours and minutes)
• Select “Close”
• Enter your meter reading
• Select “Submit” to complete the process

More information
For more information, contact us on 1300 139 510 or your planner on 1300 360 117

Download Factsheet


A guide to your water usage report - MID

 

Your Water Usage Report provides up-to-date information about your water shares (high and low reliability), current available allocations, and water usage details.

They are available from SRW’s online water ordering centre at www.srw.com.au/worder or by contacting your planner on 1300 360 117.

To access your Water Usage Report online follow the instructions below:

  1. go to www.srw.com.au/worder
  2. Enter your allocated user and pin number. If you do not know your user and pin number, contact our customer service centre on 1300 139 510
  3. Select “Usage” from the top menu, then select “Allocation”
  4. All of your services will be listed on the screen. Select “View Statement” on the right side for the services you wish view.

An explanation of your Water Usage Report as it appears on the screen is shown overleaf.

Keep your contact details up to date

As SRW needs to contact customers from time to time, you should always keep your details up to date - in particular your mailing address, phone, fax and email details. This is especially important if you change sharefarmers or if you are a sharefarmer and move to a different property.

If you need to change your contact details please contact our customer service centre on 1300 139 510.

More information
For more information contact us on 1300 139 510 or your planner on 1300 360 117.

Download Factsheet

 


Water Share & Allocatoin Trading - MID

Why trade water?

Water in the Macalister Irrigation District is fully allocated; therefore no new water is available.

To help make the most of water on hand, we ask anyone who does not plan to use their water to consider trading to others in the area.

Water trading can help to:

• reduce your water bill
• provide additional income
• maximise productivity for the district
• build the local economy.

As a purchaser, water trading can help to meet your needs during a dry spell, or when your existing allocation is not enough.

What types of trades are available?

Permanent Transfer of water shares

This is when you sell all or part of a water share. The legal ownership of the water share changes, but any existing Limited
Term Transfers against that water share will remain in place until they either expire or are surrendered.

Temporary Trade of Seasonal Allocation (one season only)

You can trade any unused allocation from your Allocation Bank Account (ABA). These trades are for one season only and finish on 30 June each year. Water must be used by 30 June in the season in which the trade occurred. If this water remains unused at 30 June it will be returned to the communal pool for allocation the following year.

Limited Term Transfer of water share

This is where you lease your water share to someone else for a set period of time. The transfer period can be from 1 year to 20 years, and the transfer does not change the legal ownership of the water share.

A Limited Term Transfer will remain in place until it expires or is surrendered; even if the water share is transferredpermanently (see below).

The lessee is called the holder of the Limited Term Transfer, and is the only person who can surrender or cancel the Limited Term Water Share Transfer before its expiry date.

Any allocations held by the seller at the time of the transfer remain in the seller’s ABA, but can be traded by the seller via an Allocation Trade (see above). Any further allocations will be added to the holder’s ABA.

Delivery Share Transfer

This is the permanent transfer of all or part of your delivery share. Restrictions apply where a delivery share can be traded within the district, as they directly relate to and influence the capacity of each of the delivery systems in the district.

How are prices set for water trades?

The price for the water needs to be negotiated between the seller and buyer. Southern Rural Water does not play a role in trading price negotiations.

Statistics on past trades and transfer prices can be obtained from the Victorian Water Register www.waterregister.vic.gov.au.

Are there any application fees?

For information about fees, please contact us on 1300 139 510 or visit www.srw.com.au.

How can I find a buyer or seller of water?

There are many ways to find buyers and sellers of water. You could advertise in the local paper, talk to your neighbour or use a trading exchange.

Water trading exchanges operate throughout Victoria and link buyers and sellers who have lodged compatible bids. The following trading exchanges operate in our irrigation areas:

Watermove – www.watermove.com.au
Waterfind – www.waterfind.com.au

More information
For more information contact us on 1300 139 510 or visit www.srw.com.au

Download Factsheet


Fencing Agreements - MID

Southern Rural Water (SRW) established a Fencing Agreement for the Macalister Irrigation Area (MIA) after talks with our customer consultative committee.

This agreement outlines:
Who is responsible for fencing on channels and drains, including maintenance costs and access obligations
Our commitment to fencing new and existing reserves and easements, boundaries, roads and private property.

Why do we need a Fencing Agreement?
Because many of our channels, pipelines and drains are on private property, this agreement helps to:
protect our assets and ensure access at all times for maintenance
ensure the cost of initial and replacement fencing across the MIA is documented for future reference.

Who is responsible for fencing along new and existing reserves?

A reserve is property that is owned and managed by SRW to allow us to construct or protect assets. SRW is responsible for the initial fencing of a reserve. All future fence maintenance or replacement costs will be shared equally between SRW and adjoining landowners as per the Fences Act 1968.

Who is responsible for fences along new and existing easements?

Easements are used by SRW for supplying water and drainage on land owned by farmers in the area. SRW has unrestricted access within the easement area for managing, operating and maintaining its assets.

If landowners plan to build or repair fencing along a channel or drain to protect their stock, or to prevent damage to a channel or drain, the landowner is responsible for the full cost of fencing the easement boundary.

However, if the fencing is required by SRW for any reason other than to minimise stock damage we will meet the full cost of materials, construction and ongoing maintenance.

Who is responsible for fences along new and existing property boundaries?

Where a new boundary fence is required, or where an existing boundary fence crosses a channel or drain, SRW will meet the cost of fencing that secures access and ensures the channel or drain profile is stock-proofed. Where existing cross fences within the property don’t allow access to channels or drains, the cost of providing gates and fencing is shared equally by landowners and SRW.

If a property is subdivided, the landowner must ensure that SRW continues to have unlimited access to the channel or drain as part of any subdivision conditions.

Who is responsible for fencing along drains or roadways for access?

Where SRW needs access to a channel or drain from the road, it will provide and maintain secure access fencing at designated entry points. This includes stock-proofing the channel profile.

Who is responsible for fencing within properties that cross a channel?

Where existing fences within a property cross a channel or drain and there is no access, SRW will share the cost of providing access. Generally, this means SRW will provide the gate and hardware that the landowner then fits into the fence. If a new fence is to be constructed over the channel bank, then access must be provided by the landowner.

More information
For more information, contact us on 1300 139 510 or visit www.srw.com.au

Download Factsheet


Treating submerged weeds in irrigations channels - MID

Weeds block the flow of water in our irrigation channels. This prevents us from giving good service to our customers. Weeds need to be removed by machines or treated with herbicide.

At times, we treat weeds that float or grow under water with a herbicide. This is the best way for us to prevent weeds causing water delivery problems. The herbicide we use is called Acrolein. Here are some answers to common questions about Acrolein and our use of it.

Southern Rural Waters use of Acrolein

What is Acrolein?           

Acrolein is a herbicide used worldwide to control submerged and floating weeds in irrigation channels.

This treatment has been used in Australia since 1977. Southern Rural Water (SRW) has used this many times to control weeds in its irrigation channels.

Acrolein is registered with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) and the United States Environment Protection Agency for the control of submerged weeds.

Why did SRW decide to use this particular herbicide?

Herbicide is the most effective way of dealing with submerged weeds growing in the channels.

Mechanical removal requires weeds to grow before they can be removed. It is very slow, damages channels and is only partly effective.

Acrolein is the only herbicide approved by the APVMA for use in Australia to treat these types of weeds.

Why does this herbicide need to be used now?

Weeds tend to grow when the weather gets warmer. Treating in late Spring early Summer will limit the weed growth as we move into our peak summer delivery period.

Will customers & the community be notified of the treatment?

Yes, each time this product is used, SRW:

  • notifies the public by a public notice in the Gippsland Times
  • writes to customers whose properties adjoin the section of channel we will be

How is the herbicide used in the channels?

The channel where the herbicide is added is blocked off. During the process SRW will:

  • test water to keep an eye on the Acrolein levels as they reduce to zero
  • ensure that the treated water returns to normal
  • not release any water from outfalls into natural waterways for 72 hours, as a safeguard.

How does SRW ensure that no herbicide reaches waterways?

We shut off all spur channels and outfalls and place them in a locked mode to prevent them from being operated automatically. This means the doors can only be re-opened manually on site, when the process is finished.

We also place temporary earthen dams in the drains leading to waterways, just in case water leaks past the outfall doors..

What action will SRW take to prevent spillage?

The herbicide can only be removed from its cylinder (fitted with safety valves) by pumping in dry nitrogen as a propellant. The herbicide is added into the channel by a qualified operator

This herbicide is transported in vehicles, equipped with fittings to ensure cylinders cannot tip over or be damaged.

It is highly unlikely a spill will occur, but if it does we carry spill containment equipment and soda ash to absorb it.

Do other organisations use Acrolein?

Yes, Acrolein is used extensively in Australia and other countries to control weed growth in irrigation channels.

About Acrolein

How does Acrolein work?

Magnacide H, with Acrolein, is a non-selective biocide that attacks and alters the cell structure of plants reliant on dissolved oxygen in water. It is toxic to fish and crustaceans who also take dissolved oxygen from water through their gill-based respiratory system.

Acrolein acts as a “chemical mower”, stripping plants at the base. It does not get rid of the root system, and weeds will regrow.

What weeds are being targeted in the channels?

This type of treatment is for submersed aquatic weeds such as ribbon weed and floating clubrush.

What are the likely effects on humans if they come into direct contact

When used correctly, Acrolein does not have any long-term effects on people or the environment.

To minimise any risk, SRW recommends that during the process:

  • don’t come in contact with channel water
  • don’t swim in channels (any time!)
  • if you need to work next to or near channels, do so before the process or wait until afterwards
  • if this is not possible contact SRW for further information
  • seek medical advice if contact occurs.

What do I do if my child or I swallow treated water from channels?

Do not induce vomiting. Call the 13 11 26 Victorian Poisons Hotline which will advise you what to do next.

Is it likely to affect stock if they drink or enter treated water?

At the concentration levels we use it is highly unlikely that stock will suffer any effects, but as a precaution, we recommend you do not use channel water for domestic and stock use until 72 hours after the start of the process.

What happens if my dog inadvertently swims or drinks from the channel?

Again, it is highly unlikely your dog will be affected. If your dog does show signs of distress, please do not encourage it to vomit. Contact your veterinary clinic straight away.

Is it safe to use treated water for irrigation?

Yes, it is safe to use the water for irrigation on pastures, vegetables, fodder crops or vineyards. There is no withholding time for either pasture irrigation or stock which has grazed irrigated pastures.

SRW recommends you continue irrigation during this period.

Will Acrolein kill fish?   

Fish are very sensitive to this herbicide, with their gill-based respiratory system having a similar cell structure to the submerged weeds. We expect that all fish in the channels where we use Acrolein will die.

We have learned from previous use nearly all killed fish are European Carp.

Contingency plans

What happens if fish are killed and washed down the channels system near my property?

SRW will remove fish killed in the process. Water Services Officers will patrol the channel withnets to collect fish remains for 1 week after.

Customers and community members should contact SRW on 1300 139 510 if they see dead fish in a channel.

More information          
For more information, please contact Southern Rural Water on 1300 139 510, or visit www.srw.com.au

Download Factsheet


Licence to construct and use private works - MID

If you are planning to undertake works around infrastructure controlled by Southern Rural Water (SRW) – including open channels, pipelines and drains – you will need a Licence to construct and use private works.

“Around” means near, on or over the infrastructure.

Getting a licence
To obtain a Licence to construct and use private works, you need to:
1. Make an appointment to talk about your plan with our Assets Officer
2. Complete the “Request for approval of private works application form”
3. Sign the application form
4. Pay the application fees.

Fees
The following fees are required before the licence is issued:

Application fee
This fee is based on the time it takes to prepare and complete the licence application process.

Supervision fee
This fee covers the cost of inspection and reporting during the construction. This amount depends on the type of work constructed, location and the experience of the person doing the work.

Security deposit
The security deposit is refunded when the works have been completed. The deposit is used to cover the cost of completing or demolishing the works if they have not been finished according to the licence.

Capitalised Depreciation Charge
When part of the work is to become the property of SRW (eg a water meter or pump), there is a capitalised depreciation charge. This charge varies according to the size of the works. SRW is responsible for maintenance of that part of the works in the future.

Construction of private works
Work can not start until you have received a copy of the licence that has been signed and witnessed by all property owners and a SRW authorised officer.
All construction work must be completed within 12 months of the licence being issued. An application for an extension beyond this period must be submitted to SRW in writing prior to the expiry date. There is no guarantee that an extension will be approved.
Once works have been finished SRW must carry out a final check. If any works are not done to the required standard, SRW may employ a private contractor to compete the works. All cost incurred will be paid for by the applicant.
If the works have been finished to the standards agreed as outlined in the licence, the security deposit will be returned.

Licence conditions
Depending on the location, type of construction and hazards posed in your works program, we may specify conditions in your licence.

Licence terms
The licence is issued for the life of the works. If the property changes hands, the licence will be transferred when SRW receives the notice of acquisition and disposition.

More information
For more information contact us on 1300 139 510 or visit www.srw.com.au.
Work can not start until you have received a copy of the licence that has been signed and witnessed by all property owners and a SRW authorised officer.

Download Factsheet


Stock Damage

What causes stock damage?
1. Stock regularly entering the channel at one point to drink, or
2. Where channel/drain banks are continually used as access lanes for moving stock around the farm.

The hooves of stock erode away that part of the bank where they enter the channel.

In more severe cases, where the bank is used for access, many kilometres of bank can be damaged, which will eventually need major works to reconstruct.

Who is responsible for ensuring stock don’t damage channels and drains?

The landowner is responsible for ensuring stock do not damage assets owned by Southern Rural Water (SRW).

If SRW has taken an easement over privately-owned land, it is to ensure unrestricted access to our system. In this case SRW is not the landowner and legally has no right to fence along an easement. Only the landowner can take the necessary steps to ensure that cattle do not damage channel and drain banks.

Who pays for the damage?

In 1994, the Macalister Customer Consultative Committee recommended that all initial stock damage repairs be fixed and funded by SRW and that the cost of these repairs be reflected in water prices.

Any re-occurrence of stock damage or additional damage is to be paid for by the landowner.

Landowners can choose how they want to meet the cost of this subsequent work. They can:

1. Request that SRW completes the work on their behalf, or
2. Complete the work themselves or engage independent contractors to complete the work.

Any subsequent stock damage repairs must be approved by SRW.

What can be done to help reduce stock damage?

Stock troughs

By placing stock troughs in paddocks, your stock have a designated place to drink water.

Stock must not drink directly from a channel. All stock and domestic water should be pumped or piped from the channel into an on-farm dam, tank or trough.

Fencing

You can keep cattle off channels and drains by erecting permanent or electric fencing along the channel easement.

If you are planning to construct a permanent fence along a SRW channel or drain easement, contact SRW on 1300 139 510 to seek prior approval.

How does SRW monitor stock damage?

SRW has an ongoing maintenance program that includes monitoring channels, drains and easements for stock damage. We also rely on customers to advise us of any damage across the district.

More information For more information, contact us on 1300 139 510 or visit www.srw.com.au

Stock Damage – MID


Noxious Weeds

What types of weeds are there in the MID?

Noxious weeds are classified under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 and classification varies according to species and catchment. Over time, they might change when a new species is identified or when an existing species is eradicated or controlled.

Once identified, weeds are classified into four categories:

1. State Prohibited Weeds do not occur in Victoria, or occur in Victoria but it is reasonable to expect that they can be eradicated from the State. Their detection must be reported to the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) which will develop and implement an eradication program. DPI will cover all costs associated with the eradication of State Prohibited Weeds.

2. Regionally Prohibited Weeds do not occur in or are not widely distributed in a catchment, but are capable of growing and spreading further. The goal is to completely eradicate Regionally Prohibited Weeds from a catchment over a number of years.

3. Regionally Controlled Weeds are species which are widely distributed across a catchment and are beyond eradication. The goal is to prevent the spread of these species by controlling their growth and spread.

4. Restricted Weeds pose a serious threat to agricultural, environmental and social values. These species must not be sold or traded within Victoria.

Who is responsible for making decisions about noxious weeds in the Macalister Irrigation District?

The local Catchment Management Authority (CMA), in this case the West Gippsland CMA, is responsible for recommending to the Minister the appropriate classification for each weed species within the catchment. The Minister is responsible for declaration of a species as noxious.

Who is responsible for managing Regionally Prohibited Weeds and Regionally Controlled Weeds?

Land owners and land managers are responsible for managing Regionally Prohibited Weeds and Regionally Controlled Weeds on the land they own or manage. Regionally Prohibited Weeds must be managed with the aim of eradication. Regionally Controlled Weeds must not spread from their property onto surrounding properties.

• Private land owners are responsible for managing weeds on their land and on Southern Rural Water easements (except the actual asset components).
• Southern Rural Water (SRW) is responsible for managing weeds on its asset components and reserves.
• VicRoads is responsible for managing weeds on and along declared roads.
• Public land managers are responsible for managing weeds on public land.
• Local Shire Councils are responsible for managing weeds on local Shire Council / municipal roads.

If any treatment is to be undertaken which might result in any disturbance of native vegetation, culturally significant areas or waterways, you should contact the responsible authority – being Local Government, cultural heritage and/or Catchment Management
Authority – prior to the works being started.

What is a SRW asset component?

A SRW asset is a channel or drain. Components of these assets include those parts that shape and define it – the waterway, banks, berms, access tracks, fences and any controlling structures.

 Easements are owned by land owners but SRW structures, such as channels or drains, have been/may be constructed on their property. SRW staff need on-going access to easements so they can operate and maintain these structures.

As the land is not owned by SRW, the management of weeds (including noxious weed control) is the responsibility of the land owner.

SRW is only responsible for weeds in the waterways or on any component that forms part of the asset, and will only use chemicals that are registered for use in and around waterways or mechanical means for weed management and control.

 A reserve is a parcel of crown land acquired by SRW or its predecessors on which channels and drains have been constructed. They are owned and managed by SRW for the purpose of water supply or drainage. Their management, including noxious weed control, is the responsibility of SRW – whether infestations occur on the asset components or reserve areas adjacent to them.

Are most of SRW’s assets located on an easement or reserve?

The majority of SRW assets are on easements. Most Certificate of Title documents identify where easements have been created on a land owner’s property. If you are unsure of whether an easement exists on your property, you should contact SRW.

What chemicals can be used on SRW easements and near waterways?

Only herbicides that are registered for use in or near waterways can be used on SRW easements. As new chemicals and weed management technologies become available, it’s always best to check the use of these products with SRW before spraying weeds on your property.

Retailers can usually supply Material Safety Data Sheets to help you with your quality assurance schemes.

When using chemicals always refer to the label.

What can I do about my neighbour’s weeds?

If your neighbour is not managing or controlling weeds on their property, you can contact your local DPI office or the Customer Service Centre on 136 186. The DPI will ensure that those people responsible for weed control are informed of their responsibilities and obligations.

Under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 the DPI can serve notices on non-compliant land owners.

More information
For more information, contact us on 1300 139 510 or visit www.srw.com.au

Download Fact sheet


European Carp damage channel rehabilitation program

What are European carp?

The European Carp is a migrant species, first introduced to the Latrobe River in 1962 and then later to Lake Wellington, but now established as a major pest throughout Australia.

They are known throughout the world for their rapid growth rate and ability to withstand a wide range of water qualities.

Carp feed by sucking around roots of aquatic plants in search of aquatic insects. Many plants are uprooted during the feeding process and mud and plant debris is expelled, resulting in increased water turbidity. This feeding habit has a harmful effect on Australia’s freshwater systems – hence carp are a noxious species.

In the years that followed their introduction, European Carp have found their way into the irrigation infrastructure in the Macalister Irrigation District (MID). The numbers are at such plague proportions that Southern Rural Water has a program in place to manage the damage they have created, and reduce their numbers within the MID system.

What damage do they cause?

The European Carp’s feeding behaviour chips away at the channel banks. As a result, some channels have gradually spread wider towards easement boundaries, intruding onto neighbouring land. In severe cases it affects the channel structure, causing bank collapse and potentially, interruptions to irrigation supply.

The Sale area is the most badly affected, probably because of its closeness to the Gippsland Lakes and being charged from the Macalister River.

What is Southern Rural Water doing to repair the damage?

In 2006 the SRW Board approved a five year capital works program to repair the damage created by European Carp within the MID.

When we developed the program, the district was mapped and divided into two areas:
• Priority 1, which included 11 kilometres of critically affected channels, and
• Priority 2, which included 18 kilometres of moderately affected channels.

Priority 1 works:

Priority 1 works were completed in 2010, with Southern Rural Water rebuilding 11.4 kilometres of badly damaged channels on the Main Sale and Main Heart channels.

This part of the program cost $1.75 million, which includes fencing, access tracks, paddock and delver reinstatements.These assets have been renovated to a good condition, extending their remaining life by 30 years.

Priority 2 works:

Priority 2 works have begun with 4.5 kilometres currently being upgraded over the next two years. This part of the program has been budgeted to cost approximately $700,000.

As the Priority 2 sections only include moderately affected channels, repairs are planned on a ‘where needed’ basis rather than continual lengths of channel.

We will import select clay, which will be placed, compacted and battered mechanically to restore banks back to their original profile. Once this is complete, they will then be protected by beaching with either recycled concrete or rock spalls.

The scope of the work will vary according to the level of disrepair in each section, and whilst fill will be imported and applied to undermined areas, other areas may only need re-shaping and beaching to prevent further decline. The reinstatement of access tracks, fences, farm delvers and paddocks will also be an important part of the project.

The program in some areas will be very challenging due to difficult or virtually no access, the lack of suitable soil close by, wet winter weather and confined work areas where banks have completely eroded away. Working space is limited in some areas, which may mean some double handling.

Quality soil will be sourced as close as possible to each job from recently constructed farm dams, close property developments and drainage reserves.

The balance of the work, at a cost of around $2.057M, is being considered for future years.

What are the benefits?

• Ensure that we deliver water at approved performance standards

• Decrease the risk of channel failure and have a positive impact on channel condition ratings. Channels are rated according to their condition: 1 is brand new and 6 is unserviceable or about to fail.

• Improve access for weed spraying, which gives us more efficient means of controlling weeds.

What is Southern Rural Water doing to control the European Carp??

Fish screens were installed on the channel offtake at Maffra Weir in 2003 to reduce the numbers entering the system from the Macalister River.

More information
For more informaion contact us on 1300 139 510 or visit www.srw.com.au

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Deaming - what is it?

There has been a lot of talk about “deeming” savings from replacing outlets such as Dethridge wheels in irrigation districts. Many people are confused about deeming and how it works.

This fact sheet sets out to explain and clarify deeming – particularly as it applies to Dethridge wheel replacements.

Deeming – a definition

The word “deeming” means to decide or judge something.

So how does that apply to the replacement of a Dethridge wheel?

When irrigation modernisation projects are developed, the volume of water savings need to be estimated. Measurement over time has shown that Dethridge wheels have recording errors in the range of – 2% (over-recording) to +25% (under-recording). Typically they under-record the water delivered.

Dethridge wheels are generally replaced with more accurate measurement devices such as Magflow meters or FlumeGates. Testing has shown these measure more accurately – up to 5% under or over.

In modernisation projects, there are usually tens or hundreds of Dethridge wheels replaced. It would cost over $5000 per meter to test each one in the field and see how accurate it is. This is way too expensive, and just not practical.

So, based on the testing done to date on Dethridge wheels, a certain percentage of water delivered is estimated or “deemed” to have been saved when a new outlet is installed.

How is the percentage savings “deemed” for a Dethridge wheel?

The state-wide average Dethridge meter error has been worked out through two flow studies funded by Goulburn Murray Water in 2007 and 2008 that tested 53 Dethridge meters. The testing was carried out by Thiess Services, a company that specialises in water flow measurement.

What is the deemed percentage in Victoria?

It is 8.6% of the average annual water use measured by Dethridge wheels before the upgrade of the outlet.

Where does this figure come from?

The Victorian State Government established a water savings protocol that guides the estimation process for irrigation modernisation projects. It is available at http://www.water.vic.gov.au/programs/irrigation-renewal/water-savingsprotocol/ water-savings-protocol-echnical-manual.

Does that mean that the farmer automatically gets “deemed water savings”?

No. The use of these water savings needs to be decided at the time the modernisation project is agreed. Typically, the party investing the money for modernisation will decide how the water savings will be used.

In the case of the Macalister Irrigation District Channel Automation Project, the investors were the State and Commonwealth Governments. They decided to use all water savings, including those deemed from new outlets, for environmental flows.

In Northern Victoria for NVIRP stage 2, water savings, including those from deeming, are planned to be shared equally between the environment and irrigators.

What options exist for the use of “deemed” water savings in future projects?

There are several options for using “deemed” water savings in new projects:

• Water could be provided back to the farmer with the new outlet at no cost;
• Water could be provided back to the farmer with the new outlet at an agreed cost;
• Water could be provided to the environment;
• Water could be auctioned; or
• Water could be used to provide increased irrigators general security.

How do these approaches affect pricing?

If funding for outlet replacements is provided by the customers in irrigation districts and deemed water is provided to individual customers at no cost, prices to all customers will rise to cover the cost of outlets. If water savings are auctioned or a price set on the deemed water, then prices will not rise as much as some of the cost of the outlet is offset.

Do customers get service benefits with new outlets?

Customers on modernised systems will generally be able to get higher flow rates and more consistent flow rates.

Why do we need to replace Dethridge wheels anyway?

The Australian Standard on metering has defined Dethridge wheels as outside the acceptable levels of variation for metering accuracy. Southern Rural Water can no longer replace Dethridge wheels with Dethridge wheels or construct new Dethridge wheels, although we can continue to maintain wheels that are still in service.

Magflow meters and FlumeGates are 2 to 4 times more expensive than a Dethridge wheel.

Our position for our irrigation districts is that we will continue to maintain Dethridge wheels in service until other outlet costs come down, we have an agreed modernisation project, or we have some funding contribution to reduce the cost to irrigators.

More information
For more informaion contact us on 1300 139 510 or visit www.srw.com.au

Download Factsheet


Annual usage limits - applying to change them

Slipmeter customer operation user guide

Water Balance Sheet Assumptions

Eastern Irrigation Allocation Model

Online seasonal allocation auction

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