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Wah Wah Modernisation

The infrastructure modernisation project in the Wah Wah Stock and Domestic (WWSD) area aims to replace this highly inefficient open channel system and farm earthen in-ground tanks with a pumped pipeline system linked to an on-farm pipe and trough system. Once the Project is complete, MI  will no longer supply water, operate infrastructure or otherwise be involved in the Wah Wah stock and domestic district.  Water will be supplied through a combination of a Project Pipeline operated by a new private irrigation district, Gunbar Water, and Individual Pipelines operated by individual landholders.

Characteristics of the WWSD modernisation project area

Project  Wah Wah Stock And Domestic
Size 310,000 hectares
Customers 49 customers / 65 properties
 Delivery entitlements 2,041
 Existing infrastructure  
 - Channels 1,590 kilometres earthen
 - In-ground tanks 600 on-farm earthen dams
Farm types Grazing (sheep/cattle)  

 

Options assessment  

The WWSD users have been integral in the development of a scheme that will result in a piped delivery system to operate independently from the MIA network through direct river off-takes. We have worked closely with the WWSD Water Users’ Association (WUA) committee over a number of years to develop the WWSD scheme. This has involved meeting regularly to discuss and agree on the technical design of the project and also on regulatory and corporate issues. Given the size of the distribution area the preferred solution has been to deliver the entitlement using pressurised pipe. However, there has been substantial consultation on the nature of the proposed pipeline network. The proposed scheme has the support of the WUA. On-farm works   There will be a change from open channels to a piped system and each landholder will need to consider the reconfiguration of their property to provide the most appropriate watering method for stock. 

Background 

The WWSD area is located at the western end of the MIA and covers some 310,000 ha. Stock and domestic water is currently delivered from the Wah Wah channel into approximately 1,500km of open, unlined channels which form the existing WWSD delivery system. Landholders divert water from the main supply channels via private spur channels into in-ground farm dams. The original supply system was designed to make use of opportunistic water. As such the system was not designed to be fully integrated into the overall supply and drainage network under the control of Murrumbidgee Irrigation. On average the system delivery efficiency is approximately 20%. The current WWSD system is arguably unsustainable under any scenario of reduced water availability and has therefore been identified as an area in urgent need of delivery efficiency improvement. There are currently 93 individual properties owned by 45 landholders in the WWSD area. Channels are filled twice a year to fill on-farm in-ground dams. Diversions to the WWSD district are measured at the Barren Box Storage and Wetland outlet and at the release point into the stock and domestic channels. Filling of the channels and farm dams requires approximately 12,000ML to be released into the WWSD district every year. A significant portion of the conveyance water, between 9,000ML and 10,000ML is unaccounted for as it is lost through channel filling, seepage and evaporation, or through operational losses such as escapes and leakages.

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