MIA one step closer to full automation

1 September 2023

Murrumbidgee Irrigation’s (MI) 2023 winter works program is now complete, taking the MIA one step closer to full automation.

The 2023 winter works program included the automation of 275 outlets and 117 regulators, the refurbishment of 6.5 kilometres of channels, and the installation of 5.5 kilometres of pipelines, as part of MI’s ongoing Automation Project.

MI CEO, Brett Jones, said MIA irrigators are now realising the benefits of an automated network.

“These upgrades will deliver a system which will underpin a more flexible, timely and efficient water delivery system for many years to come,” he said.

Mr Jones said he was looking forward to seeing what this season would bring for the MIA, after an up and down 2022/23.

“Last season failed to fully live up to its initial promise, with excessive rainfall and flooding causing lost opportunities,” he said.

“However, irrigators were able to take advantage of the improved conditions since December last year to still produce a wide range of food and fibre crops.”

Mr Jones said that coming into the new water season there is the anticipation that 2023/24 will be a big year.

“The diversity and quality of the produce from our region, including winter and summer cereals, nuts, fodder, aquaculture, wine grapes, rice, citrus and cotton, is testament to the value of irrigation to not only NSW, but our national economy,” he said.

MI General Manager Asset Performance & Delivery, Jody Rudd, said that the works completed over winter mean that around 94% percent of the MIA system is now automated.

“We have completed the critical works required to ensure we are ready for a big season ahead,” he explained.

“This means some works, such as outlet installations, will continue in season when we can, with a focus on minimising any impacts to supply.”

Construction on the new 5,000 ML Roach’s Surge Reservoir near Yanco, is now well advanced, and due for completion by the end of this summer.

“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,” Mr Rudd said.

The full MIA Automation program of works will be delivered by June 2024. This project is funded by the Australian Government and is being delivered in partnership with the NSW Government under the Off-farm Efficiency Program.

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