Getting water when and where he needs it

Lachlan Ralphs says it’s the efficiency of his new irrigation delivery system that will provide him with the biggest benefits.

5 min read

The Ralphs family’s delivery system was upgraded as part of the Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) Connections Project.

About 3km of inefficient spur channel was shut down and replaced with one pipeline to connect two properties owned by the Ralphs family. Two other properties were also connected to stock and domestic pipelines.

Agreeing on one connection to reach both Ralphs properties and securing further on-farm efficiency funding, allowed the establishment of a pipe and riser system – with 85 risers across the properties.

“The system is designed to deliver a 20ML flow rate,” Mr Ralphs said.

Flow rates of about 12ML will be achieved under gravity operation. When higher flow rates are needed, they’re achieved under pumped operation.

Mr Ralphs is a third generation farmer at the family’s Calivil property. He milks a mixed herd of about 310 cows in a rapid exit, 16-side, dairy.

On top of this about 200ha is used to grow crops and hay for the milking herd.

For him, the biggest benefit is the control of water.

“We can get water on and off quicker and we can get it wherever we want it to go,” he said.

Connections Project Engagement Officer Ted Carmody said creating one connection to reach both Ralphs properties was win-win for the landowners and the Project.

“This solution provided a great outcome for all – providing a value for money solution, whilst establishing a better system for the irrigator,” Mr Carmody said.

“It’s a great outcome for the Ralphs family, achieved by working together to explore all sorts of different options.”

The Connections Project is a $2 billion State and Commonwealth government funded project that’s upgrading the delivery network in the GMID.

Connections Project Director Frank Fisseler said the project was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the region.

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“The Connections Project is revitalising the region, maintaining environmental values, and helping to create an irrigation system that is second to none in the world,” Mr Fisseler said.

Economic investment