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The launch of Southern Rural Water’s (SRW’s) Willang Yarn balancing storage facility, on Monday 20 February, was attended by SRW Board members, members of the MCCC and more than 70 staff.  A plaque was jointly unveiled by Terry Burgi OAM, SRW Board Chair, and Iain Stewart, MCCC Chair.

SRW was honoured to have Grattan Mullett Snr and Nicky Moffatt from the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC) participate in the launch, conducting a Welcome to Country and performing a Smoking Ceremony. GLaWAC also provided a Gunaikurnai name for the dam: Willang Yarn, meaning “Rain water”. At the launch, Grattan spoke about the important role water has always played on Country in providing food and wellbeing.

The $6M balancing storage 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.  It 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 first phase of the program will be complete by June and brings 12GL worth of water savings.

The balancing storage allows SRW to provide a true modernised service to customers in the western part of our district. This gives farmers more flexibility when ordering water and a consistent supply level with fewer interruptions to service.

Some key facts about Willang Yarn:

  • Footprint of 8.5Hectares
  • Total volume of 186 Megaliters (160ML usable)
  • Water can be sourced from from Lake Glenmaggie and the Thomson Dam or river
  • Entirely gravity-fed: no electricity or pumps
  • 1.8 meters usable head in the storage
  • One of Rubicon’s most complex integration projects to date: 96 scenarios have been programmed and tested

SRW Board Chair, Terry Burgi OAM, said that customers were already benefitting from better flow rates, shorter irrigation times and more efficient use of their water as Phase 1a nears its end.  “For some, that means being able to increase their production capacity.  For others, it means lifestyle benefits, where they can get their irrigating done more quickly,” he said. “Given the stresses that the dairy industry has been under lately, these sorts of forward-thinking projects help farming remain a viable choice for future generations.”

The $60M Phase 1b MID2030 project has been equally funded by SRW, State and Federal Governments and launches this winter. When complete in 2020, it will bring a further 9.7GL in water savings that will be available to irrigators to put into production.