$2 billion project continues to make inroads

Anna Turnbull

Installing pipeline and connecting landowners to the automated, state-of-the-art irrigation delivery network will be the focus for this year’s Connections Project program of works.

Project Director Frank Fisseler said backbone channel remediation and regulator installation works are nearing completion with the Project team now focussing on channel decommissioning, pipeline installation and individual on-farm works packages across the GMID.

“Landowners, contractors and project team members continue to work together to conceive designs that efficiently connect irrigators to the upgraded network of irrigation channels,” Mr Fisseler said.

“Complex and unique solutions are often the result so that some of the nation’s most innovative landowners can leverage the network’s smarter, on-farm irrigation systems and technology.

“We are seeing farm businesses expand, innovate and diversify in response to the secure water supply via this efficient system.”

On-track for 2020 completion, this $2 billion Victorian and Australian Government investment is continuing to convert the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District from an ageing, leaking inefficient system to a modern delivery network. Now more than 80 percent complete the project is on target to achieve its key objective of a total of 429GL water savings by October 2020.

More than $200 million of modernisation works will take place during 2019 across the GMID for the second consecutive year.

Thanks to a host of innovative strategies, the Connections Project is delivering extensive works all-year-round. Works will be carried out during this year’s Winter shutdown period but also continue during the 2019-20 irrigation season without interrupting supply. A final Winter Works program will be carried out in 2020.

“Resetting the project in 2016 implemented effective methodologies enabling the project to meet targets on-time and on-budget,” Mr Fisseler said.

“Since then, we have built strong communication pathways between our team and landowners with clear processes put in place.

“Decisions are governed by two key priorities; water savings targets and appropriate value for money of infrastructure solutions which means water savings must be affordable.

“With just 16 months until completion, we are focussing on monthly milestones to ensure we deliver on all targets by October 2020.”

The Connections Project 2019 annual works program will see more than 100km of pipeline installed, decommissioning of more than 200km of channel, installation of more than 50 regulators, remediation of more than 5km of channel and actioning more than 500 meters.

Through the Connections Project, the Victorian and Australian Governments are creating a sustainable

future for productive agriculture in northern Victoria.

The $2 billion Connections Project is Australia’s largest water savings and irrigation

modernisation project and is funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments

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Project progress