Sam Birrell understands just how important irrigated agriculture is to the Goulburn-Murray region. He grew up on an irrigated property, and with a background in business and agronomy, knows how the agriculture economy underpins the economic viability and on-going development for the region.
“Everything is about irrigation and the delivery of that resource is critical. The reliability of it, the ease of which people can access it – all of those things can make or break those farms – that’s why it’s important, in a nutshell, that we have a really efficient delivery system.”
“It was an ageing leaky delivery system that was designed, and really was not fit for purpose,” Sam said.
“It was world-leading when it was built in the early 20th century, but 21st century with all of the challenges we are competing against – a dry climate, the Murray Darling Basin Plan, competition in export markets that we haven’t had before - all of those things mean it wasn’t fit for purpose now and so we had to build something new.
“Agriculture is important to the region and it’s irrigated agriculture here – without irrigation, we are just a bunch of reasonably productive but small wheat farms – so we would end up like a small section of Western Australia, just growing wheat, very few people.”