Positive start to the season
It has been a positive start to the new irrigation season with General Security Allocation already at 46% and a series of Surplus Water Events delivering irrigators over 35,000 ML across the network.
Murrumbidgee Irrigation (MI) CEO, Brett Jones, said MIA irrigators are now starting to realise the benefits of an automated network.
“The surplus water has provided a good test of our integrated network where we have been able to use the full network capability to maximise access for eligible customers,” he said.
“By doing things differently and working with our customers we were able to extend the timeframes for delivery inside the MIA which enabled almost all customers to get their ordered water without restrictions on volume.”
“Coming into the new water season there is a good buzz across the MIA.”
The implementation of the next stage of MI’s automation program will enable water to be more consistently delivered when irrigators want it, and significantly improve the efficiency of the delivery network.
“Every drop counts so we need to be as efficient as possible,” Mr Jones said.
“We have been building towards this stage in our automation journey and it is exciting to be able to run the system at full capacity, with some fine tuning over the season.”
The wetter start to the season has caused some minor disruptions to the annual winter works program which did require some works to continue longer than expected.
“This program is vital to deliver upgrades and maintenance to keep the water delivery infrastructure and systems operating efficiently throughout the year and support irrigators going forward,” Mr Jones said.
“It’s a great result that despite the weather interruptions we exceeded our targets for delivery and did so safely with no injuries on our sites.”
This winter the program incorporated expansion, repairs and scheduled maintenance to irrigation infrastructure across the region including structures on the Main Canal and Sturt Canal, as well as on Lake Talbot, the final stage of the Lake View Branch Canal Expansion and repairs at Gum Creek Road and Mirrool Creek Escape.
While winter is over you will still see MI’s teams out and about tidying up work sites and moving into the regular 'in-season' works program.
Mr Jones said MI is continuing to monitor the COVID pandemic and this time around it presents different challenges at the start of the watering season with a greater expected demand for water deliveries this year.
“Our crews are rostering and maintaining the separation they need to ensure the impacts of any outbreak would be contained to the smallest number of people,” he said.
“Similarly, while our offices remain open to customers and the public we encourage you to continue to make use of our call centre or to use email or the MI App where you can and when you do need to see us in person to follow the simple distancing and sanitisation requirements.”