Modernising the MID
The Macalister Irrigation District modernisation project began in 2013 and is ongoing, as we work diligently on replacing the district’s ageing channel irrigation network with a modern piped system.
The overall MID2030 modernisation program was broken into phases to focus on work that brings the greatest value in water savings and service improvements.
Phase 1A included construction of the Willang Yarn balancing storage in Denison, the upgrade of regulators in the Nambrok-Denison supply system and upgrades to most Eastern system channels and all Heyfield channels. Approximately 13.3 gigalitres in water savings was achieved.
The works package started in 2013 and finished in June 2017.
Phase 1B was delivered in four stages. This included a new offtake on the Main Southern Channel, installation of 38 km of new pipeline in the Southern Tinamba supply zone, and the upgrade of 28 km of existing channels at Riverslea. An estimated 9,600 gigalitres in water savings was achieved.
The works package commenced in 2017 and was completed in 2020.
Other benefits of stages 1A an 1B include:
- new modernised outlets allowing more consistent flow rates and higher flow rates
- more efficient on-farm irrigation, saving farmers time and improving water delivery
- improved on-farm productivity
- improved safety by removing manual handling of regulator drop bars
- reducing outfall to the drain systems, which will also mean fewer nutrients entering waterways and the Gippsland Lakes.
Many farmers took the opportunity to complete on-farm works to maximise the benefits of modernisation such as installing pipe and riser systems, laser-grading new paddocks or investing in pivot sprays depending on the soil profile and design of the property.
Phase 2 program of works commenced in 2020 and included channel upgrades at Stratford and Boisedale, Pipe was included in the vicinity of Boisdale-Newry Road and the Back Valencia Creek Road and old manual wheels were replaced with new modernised outlets at four locations. Three regulators were also upgraded in the Main Northern Channel at Football Lane, Three Chain Road and Upper Maffra Road.
The Phase 2 program aims to deliver over 7,200 megalitres in water savings and drive vital investment in on-farm efficiencies, improve farm productivity and make businesses more climate resilient.
The modernisation is jointly funded by Southern Rural Water, the Commonwealth Government through the National Water Grid Fund and the Victorian Government
Delivering the Newry Pipeline
Phase 2 work is continuing with construction of the $39.8 million Newry pipeline project. The project started in January 2023 and is expected to be finished by August 2023, in time for the 2023 irrigation season. Work is being undertaken by our construction partner, Jaydo Construction.
The existing channel is being replaced with 17.25 kilometres of new pipeline and an additional five kilometres of customer connection pipelines. This is in addition to outlet upgrades, reconnection works and decommissioning.
The new pipeline will have a capacity of 130 ML/day drawn from its connection to the Main Northern Channel at Upper Maffra West. Its diameter varies from 1,200mm reducing to 375mm at its termination. The project will rationalise 105 of 158 outlets or approximately two thirds of existing outlets.
Newry’s channels are more than 100 years old and require frequent maintenance. Construction will include replacement of open channel systems with new pipelines including automated outlets. By transitioning to a reliable, piped supply, less water is lost to leakage and evaporation and there is a reduction in farm runoff
Other benefits include:
- efficiencies in the delivery of irrigation water and on-farm improvements;
- reduced nutrients entering local streams and the Gippsland Lakes;
- water savings which include 17% for the environment and the balance for agricultural production; and
- opportunities to implement best-practice water use, invest in onin on-farm efficiencies, improve farm productivity, and enable businesses to be more climate resilient.