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Werribee System Reconfiguration

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Southern Rural Water is a partner agency for the Werribee System Reconfiguration Project, a new initiative examining how potable, river and recycled water might in future be used in the Werribee River system.  

The system extends along the length of the Werribee River, from Pykes Creek in the north to Werribee in the south and includes Pykes Creek, Merrimu and Melton reservoirs and the Werribee and Bacchus Marsh irrigation districts.  

The Werribee System Reconfiguration Project was identified as a key project outcome of the Central and Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy. The project is focused on the development of a business case on the viability of reconfiguring water resources in the Werribee catchment, which could deliver the following benefits: 

  • A reliable, high quality and recycled irrigation water supply in the Werribee River system that potentially secures the future of farming in the Werribee and Bacchus Marsh irrigation districts. 
  • Secure long-term potable water supplies to meet the needs of population growth, particularly in the Melton, Bacchus Marsh and Werribee growth corridors. 
  • Protect the stressed Werribee River system by returning water to the environment. 
  • Protect water supplies from the impacts of climate change. 
  • Return water to Traditional Owners.  


Engagement with customers 

Southern Rural Water is leading the consultation with its irrigation customers, while stakeholder engagement on other project components will be undertaken by partner agencies. These include the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA), Melbourne Water, Greater Western Water and the Traditional Owner Partnership Group for the Central Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy. 

A Reference Group of Werribee irrigation customers has been appointed to support the project team to understand customer needs and requirements. This followed an Expression of Interest process undertaken late in 2023. 

The group consists of Werribee Regulated System entitlement holders and/or primary producers operating in the Werribee Irrigation District. 

Meetings are being chaired by independent facilitators from consultancy Proud Mary. 

A key focus of customer consultation is on irrigation supply requirements, including the potential of providing a high quality, recycled irrigation water supply. Over six meetings, from March to August, the group will meet to discuss the requirements of a future irrigation supply system and what it might look like. Each meeting will focus on a specific theme, with some meetings featuring subject matter experts. 

Feedback from the group will inform a business case for the Werribee System Reconfiguration Project, which will consider irrigation opportunities alongside potable water, river health, environment and traditional owner benefits. Incorporating a whole-of catchment approach potentially improves the viability of the business case, securing funding and realising the full benefits. 

A preliminary business case is due in 2024 and the final business case in 2026. There will be no changes to water entitlements without the agreement of customers.  

Irrigation customers that are not reference group members can provide written submissions on what they might want from a future irrigation supply system. 

Submissions can be sent to with the subject line: ‘Submission – future irrigation supply’. 


Customer reference group

The customer reference group consists of the following customers:

  • Michael Agosta
  • Paul Baggio
  • Sam Depasquale
  • Tom Elevato
  • Andrew Fragapane
  • Mary Kerruish
  • Amo Mason
  • Danny Goegan
  • John Said
  • Harry Velisha