Settlement of the Werribee River basin began with the development of Melbourne and, by the middle of the 1860s, private schemes to irrigate sections of farms with river frontages had been established. Because these schemes relied on natural river flows, however, they were limited in their extent and reliability.
Extensive survey works began in 1867 by the then Victorian Water Supply Department. When the survey was completed, an ambitious development proposal was put forward, but was never approved due to the high cost. Private irrigation schemes therefore continued for the next 30 years.
In April 1889, the Bacchus Marsh Irrigation and Water Supply Trust was formed. The irrigation district comprised of 283 hectares of land on the banks of Parwan Creek. Water was also supplied to the township of Bacchus Marsh.
Following this, the Lerderderg Irrigation Trust was formed in April 1890, to irrigate 810 hectares of river flats along the banks of the Lerderderg River. However, no works were constructed as the Trust decided that the expense involved could not be justified.
Under the provisions of the Water Act of 1905, the Lerderderg Irrigation Trust was abolished and the Bacchus Marsh Irrigation and Water Supply District was transferred to the newly-formed State Rivers and Water Supply Commission.
Development began under the control of the Water Commission. A new diversion weir on the Werribee River was completed in 1910 and a new main channel was completed in the following year. This channel increased the area supplied with water to 1,330 hectares. Supply channels to serve this additional area were completed in 1913.
The demand for irrigation supplies steadily increased and in 1911 Pykes Creek Reservoir the first storage on the Werribee River – was completed. An additional main channel was completed in 1929 to supply 400 hectares of high land adjacent to the older irrigation areas. The original channels were lined with concrete between 1920 and 1934.
In the early 1960s, a program of progressive pipe-lining began in the BMID. The main channel was progressively enlarged and its banks raised for a length of 300 metres near the township to prevent flooding of private land. In 1970, the township section was abandoned due to urban development.
What is individual carryover?
With individual carryover, all water held in the reservoirs will be allocated to you in the current season. Southern Rural Water will not store water for future years.
Any unused water in your ABA will remain in your account for you to use in the new season, according to these rules:
The maximum volume of water that you can carry over from season to season is the total volume of your high and low reliability water shares. 15% is automatically taken off at the end of a season to account for the evaporation that occurs from the reservoirs.
In any season, the maximum volume that can be allocated to you is equal to the total volume of your water shares – this includes any carryover.
The Bacchus Marsh Irrigation District (BMID) now receives its irrigation supply via a weir on the Werribee River just east of Ballan, which diverts water via a tunnel and Myers Creek to Pykes Creek Reservoir.
Water from Pykes Creek Reservoir is released into the Werribee River via the Korweinguboora Creek. A second diversion weir located west of Bacchus Marsh on the Werribee River diverts to Werribee Vale Road customers and also via Maddingly pump station to the rest of the BMID
Like Werribee and the Macalister Irrigation District in Gippsland, Bacchus Marsh is a gravity irrigation district and relies on upstream heads of water to move supply through the channels and pipes to customers.
Customers order water through Southern Rural Water’s Waterline ordering system. It is then delivered by our Water Services Officers through a complex series of checks, regulators and valves. This brings the water to the customer property where it is measured either by a dethridge wheel on open channels or a standard flow meter on pipelines. From here it is directed by the customer, often into storage dams and then into on-farm irrigation systems.
Prices for water in the BMID are determined by the Essential Services Commission following recommendation by the Southern Rural Water Board. This recommendation is made following consultation with the Werribee Bacchus Marsh Customer Consultative Committee, which is made up of customers from within the district.
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 password 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:
- Type in your User Number and password
- Select your required option from the Orders main menu drop down list
- Enter in the details as required
- When placing repeating orders, only one panel of duration and flow rate needs to be filled in as data is contained in each repeat
- Before lodging your order, make sure that dates and times are correct
- 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 password 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 password; 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.
Mobile online water statement
Online water statement – now available by mobile platform
To access Waterline, you must have a valid user number and password. If you don’t have a user number and password, please contact Southern Rural Water on 1300 139 510.
Waterline is now available from a mobile platform that allows access to popular online information including entitlement information, meter reading entry and access to online water ordering all from your smartphone.
Water Statements provide you with up-to-date information about your current available entitlements and usage details. They are available from SRW’s Waterline
To access your personal report via the internet:
- go to www.srw.com.au/worder/
- enter your User & password details
- select “Usage” from the top menu.
- select “Allocation”. Your services will then appear on the screen.
- in the “View Statement” box click on the PDF icon
- select open to view the statement.
To access your personal report via the mobile app:
- go to or https://www.srw.com.au/morder/ google SRW Waterline and click on the link from your phone
- enter your User & password details
- select “Allocation”. Your services will then appear on the screen
- select the arrow next to the one you wish to view
- select how you wish to view your account e.g. PDF
- the report will be available to view in your downloads
- you will have to zoom out to view the report.
By checking your Water Statement details against your entitlements, you have a snapshot of actual usage to date from your last meter reading and your entitlement remaining for the season.
These reports can help you to monitor water use, compare usage across different seasons and evaluate the impact of changing on-farm practices.
A copy of the Water Usage Report
For more information about your Water Statement or if you are unable to access your water statement, please contact us on
1300 139 510.
Bacchus Marsh Winter irrigation roster
To enable our customers to plan winter irrigation requirements in conjunction with Southern Rural Water’s winter maintenance activities, please note the following winter irrigation roster, which runs from May to the end of September.
Providing there is enough demand, water supply will be available to irrigators in the Bacchus Marsh Irrigation District from Monday to Friday during the season.
We can only run the system once we have enough orders to ensure a flow rate above 15 ML per day.
Please place your order on Waterline at or contact the 24-hour telephone Water Ordering Service on 1300 360 117. You will need to place your orders at least two business days before the water is required
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
- New or replacement outlets
- Power or water lines
- Pivot crossings
- Or any other structures
How do I apply for a licence?
- Contact our Land Management Coordinator 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 Land Management Coordinator will inspect regularly to check progress and that you are complying with specifications.
Part of the fee is a security deposit, which we will refund when the project is completed to the required standard and specifications.
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.
The Bacchus Marsh Irrigation District (BMID) is located around the community of Bacchus Marsh, some 55 km north-west of Melbourne on a flood plain of the Werribee River.
At the time of European settlement, this region was a large swamp. It is now a highly developed agricultural district specialising in horticulture and market gardening.