Sunraysia Modernisation Project
The Sunraysia region on the Murray River in Victoria's north west produces almost all of Australia's dried vine fruit and table grapes, as well as a significant proportion of the nation's pistachio, almond and citrus harvests. The region boasts access to a reliable water supply, excellent soils, ideal climate and established processing and transport infrastructure.
The $120 million Sunraysia Modernisation Project has created a more efficient irrigation network across the Mildura, Merbein and Red Cliffs districts. The project has:
- upgraded key pump stations across the three districts
- replaced 24 kilometres of open channels with pipeline
- installed channel automation in the remaining 20 kilometres of open channels, including 19 regulating structures
The Australian Government contributed $103 million towards the Sunraysia Modernisation Project, which was delivered by Lower Murray Water. The Sunraysia Modernisation Project was officially opened by the Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Luke Hartsuyker MP on 21 September 2016.
Benefits of the project include:
- 365 day access to irrigation water via the water ordering system for over 2,000 customers, providing greater reliability and water availability.
- improved water quality leading to reduced on-farm filtration costs.
- greater operational flexibility to improve service delivery to irrigation customers.
- seven gigalitres in water savings transferred to the environment to bridge the gap under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
The modernised irrigation system creates opportunities for irrigators to diversify their crops and expand food production to meet future market demands. This has flow on benefits to strengthen regional development and economic prosperity across Sunraysia into the future.
Why Modernise the Sunraysia Irrigation District?
The irrigation districts of Mildura, Merbein and Red Cliffs are some of the oldest irrigation areas in Australia, with much of the original infrastructure unable to meet contemporary farming and irrigation standards. The unreliability and inefficiency of the infrastructure meant irrigators had restricted access to water during winter, received poor quality water from open channels and experienced significant water losses during the delivery of water. There was an increasing risk that the ageing infrastructure would fail, leaving irrigators without water altogether, potentially at critical periods.
The Murray-Darling Basin Plan
The Murray-Darling Basin Plan came into force when signed by the Commonwealth Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities in November 2012. It sets legal limits on the amount of surface water and groundwater that can be taken from Victoria's share of the Basin from 1 July 2019 onwards.
The plan provides for 2,750 gigalitres a year of environmental outcomes.
Read more about the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
Sunraysia Modernisation Project Phase 2
Lower Murray Water is investigating water infrastructure options that could create further agricultural benefits in the Sunraysia irrigation district. The Australian Government will contribute $1.7 million to this investigation under the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program. The feasibility study is due to be completed in 2017.
Sunraysia Rejuvenation Project
The Sunraysia Rejuvenation Project is a cross-agency initiative to increase employment and business activity in the region by facilitating the redevelopment of dried off properties in the Sunraysia pumped districts and improving the efficiencies of businesses on smaller properties. For more information on the Sunraysia Rejuvenation Project click here or to discuss investment opportunities contact the Sunraysia Rejuvenation Project Director Jeff Milne.