The Connections Project is the nation’s largest water savings project. The prolonged drought demonstrated the importance of sustainable water use and supply. Northern Victoria and the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID) have experienced several good rainfall seasons, but Australia is a country of extreme weather and water needs to be used more sustainably in the future.
Water is a precious resource and using it more efficiently and effectively is vital to our long-term sustainability as a region producing high quality, large quantity produce.
We’re achieving water savings by decommissioning spur channels, upgrading backbone channels with plastic lining and clay remodelling, automating meters to provide significantly better accuracy and automating the operation of irrigation channels.
We know that water savings is one of the most important targets for the project, which is required to deliver 429 GL of water savings per year (225 GL from Stage 1 and 204 GL from Stage 2).
All of the Stage 2 water savings and one third of the Stage 1 savings will provide 279 GL of water to the environment. These water savings are an important part of Victoria’s water recovery target of 1075 GL to meet its obligations for the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
Prior to modernisation it was estimated up to 900 GL of water was being lost in the Goulburn Murray irrigation network annually through seepage, leakage, evaporation, meter error and unauthorised use. When the project is complete in 2018, it is estimated there will be an average increase in irrigation water delivery efficiency from about 70 per cent to at least 85 per cent.
The Victorian Government appoints an independent auditor to audit water savings from the project annually.
More information about these audits can be found on the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries website, click here.