Funding secures future of nations food bowl

17 January 2022

Murrumbidgee Irrigation (MI) has today welcomed the announcement of $126.48 million in funding under the State Led Off-farm Efficiency Program, to finalise its automation works and secure the future of the MIA.

The project will upgrade 1,500 metered outlets, automate 360 regulators, refurbish 20 kilometres of open earth channels and construct a new 5,000 ML surge reservoir that together will generate 6.3 GL per year of water savings for the environment and 1.1 GL for water users and the community.

MI CEO, Brett Jones, said that this project will complete the modernisation of the MIA and provide the region with a modern, reliable and efficient water supply.

“Our vision is to grow our future together with customers and the community, and we welcome this spend on infrastructure that recognises the importance of the triple bottom line to the Basin,” he said.

“This funding is a key enabler to improving farm productivity and crop yields that support the continued growth and prosperity of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.”

“It is a win for everyone, with flow on economic benefits throughout the community, while also delivering significant water savings for the environment.”

Mr Jones said that the MI proposal went through a stringent assessment process that included independent advice to verify the water savings.

“We know only too well that water scarcity is here to stay, and decisions regarding water use will only become more important in the future as the climate changes,” he said.

“We need to be ready to support our customers though seasons of vastly changing water availability, and these automation works are key to ensuring that we can meet these challenges whilst ensuring our system runs efficiently.” 

MI General Manager Asset Delivery, Jody Rudd, said that with around 80 percent of the system now automated, finishing the rollout of automation across the delivery network will allow more customers to benefit from the investment.

“Project planning is well advanced, which will enable works to commence at the end of the current irrigation season,” he explained.

“Strategically located surge reservoirs in conjunction with the move to full automation will enable us to further improve our water delivery flexibility for irrigators, who are requesting higher flow rates, the ability to start and close at short notice and 24-hour access to these services.

“This will reduce ordering times to ensure that crops receive water precisely when required. It will also decrease shut off notification times by pushing excess water into the reservoirs, resulting in a reduction in crop water logging, significant increases in yield, and minimal in system water losses.”

The Automation Finalisation program of works will be delivered by June 2024.

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