Works underway to connect Rochester Irrigation Area landowners

David Lee

Twenty-seven dairy and mixed farming landowners in the Rochester Irrigation Area south-west of Echuca will soon be connected to a modernised irrigation system,transforming the way they irrigate.

With works underway to install 3.3 km of pipeline, decommission 430m of ageing channel and install 35 new, state-of-the-art meters as part of the $2 billion Connections Project, landowners will have access to the automated system.


For dairy farmers, this means shorter ordering times and better flow rates delivering water when and where it is needed with many reporting life changing benefits. The automated system allows farmers to place water orders just 24-hours in advance and turn the water on with the touch of a button.


Local Rochester company, Ward Bros Earthmoving was contracted to bore under the Northern Highway in preparation for the new GMW gravity pipeline. The works began in October and are due for completion in December 2019.


To date,the Connections Project has decommissioned more than 1,450km of old channel, generated 344GL of verified annual water savings, remediated over 300km of channel to stop leakages, seepage and generate water savings, installed more than 8,500 meters to modernise and automate the delivery system and fully modernised more than 6,800 landowners.


Connections Project Director Frank Fisseler said thanks to consistent, year-round modernisation works throughout the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID), the Connections Project is making rapid progress and will continue to achieve milestones until completion in October 2020.


“Now more than 90 percent complete the project is on target to achieve its key objective of 429GL of water savings each year (long-term average). When the project is complete,it is estimated irrigation water use efficiency will increase from 70 to 85 percent.,”Mr Fisseler said.


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


“With channel remediation and regulator installation works nearing completion, the Project team is now focussed on channel decommissioning, pipeline installation and individual on-farm works packages across the GMID, including the works now taking place south-west of Echuca.”


The $2 billion Connections Project is Australia’s largest irrigation modernisation project and is funded by the Australian and Victorian governments.

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