Creating sustainable irrigation through the Connections Project

Works on John Coldwell's irrigation supply channel has improved the supply and delivery of water, and he's rapt with the result.


Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) Connections Project irrigation modernisation works are helping create a sustainable delivery network and a Cobram couple couldn’t be happier with the results on their channel.

Modernisation works began on the channel supplying John Coldwell and Lyn Haynes’s 10-acre south Cobram property in April and were completed as part of the Connections Project’s $100 million winter works program.

The channel, which runs adjacent to their property, was modernised and remediated with geosynthetic clay lining to minimise leakage and seepage from the traditionally sandy soil in the Murray Valley region.

The channel’s banks were also significantly remodelled to improve the structure and solidity.

“When we first bought the property, we were worried the banks were going to have a blow out, they were quite eroded and undercut and looked unstable,” Mr Coldwell said.

“The channel leaked into our paddocks and there were a lot of weeds in the channel, mostly arrowhead, and that was affecting the flow in the channel as well.”

Their system was fitted with a 300mm manual outlet, and their on-farm spur channel was realigned to work with the remediated channel bank.

“We’re so pleased with what has been delivered and we’re so pleased the works were carried out this winter,” he said.

“We’re extremely pleased with the works, and it looks great. The contractors were really easy to work with - we didn’t have a single issue and they made sure we knew what was happening and were confident all the way through the process.

“It will definitely add value to our property.”

Mr Coldwell said he was also looking forward to watering this season through the modernised, efficient system.

Minister for Water Lisa Neville said the Connections Project was continuing to deliver once-in-a-lifetime upgrades to create a modernised, sustainable irrigation system.

“This is a great example of the re-set delivering on the ground and shows how we're working with landowners to implement the right improvements on a case-by-case basis,” Ms Neville said.

Connections Project Director Frank Fisseler said the project was optimising the volume of water available to irrigators in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District (GMID) by turning water losses into savings.

“These upgrades protect the GMID’s status as a source of high security water and significantly enhances the sustainability of the entire region,” Mr Fisseler said.

“These works are a great example of how the project is turning leaking, inefficient channels into modernised, efficient systems for irrigators.”

This year the project successfully delivered one of the largest winter works programs in its history.

“These works have also contributed to resolving complex legacy issues with 325 long-standing cases being resolved since March 2016,” Mr Fisseler said.

Project works will continue to occur during summer in consultation with landowners so more people can be connected to the modernised network sooner.

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