Improving irrigation efficiency
Victoria is a major contributor to Australia's total gross value of irrigated agricultural produce accounting for around $3.7 billion or 28 per cent of the total gross value of irrigated agricultural production GVIAP in 2012-13 (ABS 2014).
Of the thousands of kilometres of channels and pipelines used to transport water to irrigators and stock and domestic customers, much is out-dated and unable to cope with the demands of modern irrigation.
Modernising irrigation systems
Modernising irrigation systems may involve automating and upgrading channels, rationalising and decommissioning redundant channels, constructing pipelines, upgrading the accuracy of metered outlets to farms and lining and remodelling channels.
These works, in combination with system operational changes, will improve service levels to irrigators and save billions of litres of water.
Significant efficiency improvements will be made possible by transforming a 'manually' operated system to a fully automated delivery system measuring water flows quickly and accurately.
Read more in Modernising irrigation systems.
Goulburn-Murray Water Connections Project
Since the late 1800s more than 6,500 kilometres of channels have been built in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District to deliver water to thousands of farms and rural properties. Nowadays the footprint of the northern region of Victoria has changed significantly with farm sizes increased, town boundaries expanded, and water trading, on-farm technology and irrigation practices vastly different from the pioneering days of irrigation in the north.
The Goulburn-Murray Water Connections Project is creating a world class irrigation district to match modern day requirements. The upgrade will improve water delivery management and irrigation services, and recover much of the water now being lost through leaks, evaporation and system inefficiencies.
Between 2007 and 2018 the Victorian Government, Commonwealth and local irrigators are investing $2 billion to the upgrade to northern Victoria's irrigation infrastructure.
Victorian Farm Modernisation Project
On 13 August 2013, a new $100 million on-farm irrigation upgrade program was announced to save water for farmers and the environment across 54,000 hectares in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District.
The Victorian Farm Modernisation Project is expected to deliver 53 gigalitres of water savings, with 30 gigalitres going to the environment.
Sunraysia Modernisation Project
The Federal Government approved the $103 million Sunraysia Modernisation Project to bring ageing irrigation infrastructure in line with contemporary irrigation standards.
The Sunraysia Modernisation Project will provide a more efficient irrigation network in the Mildura, Merbein and Red Cliffs districts, providing 365 days per year water delivery to irrigators, improved water quality and improved irrigation application rates for as many customers as possible.
It will deliver strong economic outcomes through improved levels of service, greater flexibility for irrigators and a more efficient irrigation system.