Victorian Minister for Water Lisa Neville has announced a full program of winter works as part of the $2 billion Connections irrigation modernisation project, which is improving conditions for irrigators and saving billions of litres of water in the region.

“We have a full program of works underway to deliver what we promised: irrigation modernisation for the people of Northern Victoria who need it the most,” Ms Neville said.

The $47 million 2016 Winter Works program includes:

  • Installation of up to 200 new meters
  • Up to 26km of new pipelines across 13 sites
  • Channel remediation at 13 sites
  • Automation at 45 sites
  • Special projects including the Swan Hill Modernisation Project, Box Creek Weir and Fish Lock

The project solutions team has now resolved more than 100 cases.

Planning has also begun on the 2017 Winter Works package, worth more than $100 million. This package is set to be one of the most significant works programs to date and includes meter upgrades, new regulators, channel remediation and pipeline construction across Northern Victoria.

Ms Neville said work on the broader Connections reset is also progressing well and the project team has submitted a proposed delivery plan to the State and Federal Governments, with a decision expected soon.

The plan builds on feedback from local irrigators who have shown strong support for ‘option four’, announced as part of the project reset in June 2016.

Option four is a tailored, fit-for-purpose approach and was identified as the best way forward to complete the Connections Project.

“Consultation was critical to get the project back on track and it’s great to see tangible improvements for local irrigators on the ground,” Ms Neville said.

The reset delivery plan also reflects the Victorian Government’s on-going consultation with the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF), local councils and water services committees.

Ms Neville said the Victorian Government will continue to work with the Project Control Group, Goulburn-Murray Water, stakeholders and irrigators to push Connections forward for the benefit of the region and the environment.

“We want to drive this project home, deliver water savings for the Murray Darling Basin and boost the economies of the region, Victoria and Australia,” Ms Neville said.

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