Roaches Reservoir to benefit irrigators and community

Murrumbidgee Irrigation (MI) are hopeful of commencing works on a Yanco enroute reservoir in June this year, with the project set to benefit irrigators’ by complementing the automation works already completed across the MIA.

MI General Manager Asset Delivery, Jody Rudd, said a development application has been submitted to Leeton Shire Council for the establishment of Roaches Reservoir, which is set to hold 5,000ML, dwarfing the other two MIA enroute reservoirs - Bray’s Dam (2,300ML) and Yenda (700ML).

Mr Rudd said there were several key reasons to establish the enroute reservoir in Yanco.

“The reservoir will enable us to be flexible, efficient and responsive to irrigators’ and town water needs,” he said.

“A reservoir of this size will support surges in demand through our integrated channel network, allowing us to provide additional surge capacity across the network, enabling higher flowrates to irrigators in peak events, as well as better matching to river ordering.

“Forecasting water orders, when it takes up to 7-days to get from the dams to the MIA is challenging, and limits our ability to respond to demand fluctuations due to changes in climatic conditions, resulting in a frequent mismatch between the volume of water released and that taken at MI’s offtake.”

“Having this new reservoir will enable us to get the water take versus water order as close as possible and ensure less water is lost to the resource set within the Murrumbidgee Valley.” 

Mr Rudd said the Roaches Reservoir Project will also leverage the investment by irrigators in technology to provide a further substantial increase to farm productivity, and increase yields, by reducing ordering and shutdown timeframes without impacting other levels of service or delivery efficiency.

“Investments that result in increased farm value without altering intermediate inputs result in net economic gains for the local economy,” he explained.

Roaches Reservoir will also give irrigators’ much greater water security during winter works periods for crops such as citrus, and town water supply, as well as enable MI to supply “off the grid” in high demand periods such as targeted high flow environmental events along the Murrumbidgee.

Mr Rudd said the Yanco site was chosen because it sits high in the system, the soils were the right quality to build a reservoir on and it is in an area where MI can easily gravity feed water in and out of.

“We are looking to establish another large reservoir in the upper Sturt Canal and some other smaller ones at key points throughout the system, when the timing and funding is right,” he added.

MI is seeking funding for the $40 million project from the NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment and Federal Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment. 

“With or without government funding, once we get the relevant approvals construction will commence, as it will be a huge benefit for our irrigators’,” Mr Rudd said.

“It will also be a significant boost for the local economy as we will be looking to engage local contractors to undertake as much of the work as possible.”

The upcoming 2021 Winter Works period will be a busy one with construction commencing on Roaches Reservoir, and the automation of regulators in the Murrami and Griffith areas, as part of Stage 3 of the ongoing Automation Project.

“We will also be modernising irrigators’ outlets in these areas,” Mr Rudd added.

“With around 70% of our channel system now automated, completing the automation across the rest of our water delivery network will help us to deliver water to irrigators’ in the best way possible.”

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