A delegation of ten Iraqi senior officials visited Shepparton recently to view the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District’s, modernised water-delivery network in a bid to learn ways to rebuild their ancient irrigation system.
The tour was hosted by Goulburn-Murray Water and the Connections Project which is undertaking a $2 billion upgrade of the region’s irrigation system. The group visited sites where GMW’s irrigation system has been modernised using state-of-the-art technology
Connections Project Director Frank Fisseler said the visitors described Iraq’s 6,000-year-old irrigation system.
“Iraq now faces the major task of rebuilding their irrigation system, managing severe salinity problems and responding to significant water shortages caused by developments in neighbouring countries and climate change,” Mr Fisseler said.
The group was very interested in Connections Project successes such as Total Channel Control, replacing manual regulators with automated regulators, lining channels with plastic or geosynthetic clay and more accurate metering.
“It was humbling to share our experiences with some of Iraq’s leading engineers and officials whose culture is based on thousands of years of irrigation,” Mr Fisseler said.
“We shared our experiences managing a major project focused on water savings through reducing channel losses, building a world-leading water delivery system to boost irrigator productivity, helping communities thrive while also improving the environment.
“With the Connections Project now nearing completion this state-of-the-art irrigation system that is the lifeblood of our agricultural sector is gaining attention on the world stage.
“Just 10 years ago, the GMID’s irrigation system was in a state of disrepair losing water through leakage, seepage and evaporation. It was at that time that a group of local leaders started seeking ways to modernise one of the region’s greatest assets.”
The group of delegates spent three days in the Shepparton region visiting several sites including Peter Hall’s orchard at Ardmona. They also visited the Central Goulburn Channel no 6 at Merrigum/Ardmona Road, Merrigum where 3.5km of channel was remediated using HDPE to save 408 ML of water.
The $2 billion Connections Project is Australia’s largest irrigation modernisation project and is funded by the Victorian and Australian governments.