The first ground has been broken for the construction of the $40M Harcourt Rural Modernisation Project in Victoria.

The Nationals Member for Rodney, Paul Weller, who visited the site representing the Victorian Minister for Water Peter Walsh, said this was a significant milestone for the Harcourt community, with construction now underway for the 19 kilometre backbone pipeline and associated reticulation system.

“The turning of soil for the pipeline today marks a very significant milestone in this much anticipated project,” Mr Weller said.

“The Harcourt Rural Modernisation Project will provide rural customers in the Harcourt area with a year round pressurised supply through a piped system – replacing the aged and now inefficient concrete and earthern gravity rural channel system that has served this region for over 100 years.

“The project will provide greater water security, for rural residents and the local agriculture industry in the area.

“The Victorian Government has a goal to see our farmers double food and fibre production in this state by 2030, and irrigation modernisation projects like Harcourt’s will help achieve that by providing a reliable, efficient water supply,” Mr Weller said.

The $40 million project will replace 65 kilometres of open channels with a new underground piped water system, saving an estimated 3,000 megalitres of water per year – comprising an estimated 950 megalitres lost from the channel system and a further 2,000 megalitres from water licences that rural customers sold to Coliban Water in 2013.

Managing Director Jeff Rigby said the 500 millimetre diameter backbone pipeline would be the first section to be constructed.

“The 19 kilometre backbone pipeline will start in McIvor Road and continue into Reservoir Road and on to Danns Road, where it will link up with the Old Calder Highway and then connect to the yet to be built Faraday pump station.

“Smaller reticulation pipelines to service rural customers will then be connected into the backbone.

“A combination of open trenching and trenchless boring techniques will be used during construction.

“Our contractor Redline Group has extensive experience in pipeline construction in regional areas across Australia and demonstrated this through the tendering process,” Mr Rigby said.

As well as the pipeline, this project also involves the construction of a balancing tank and two pump stations under separate construction contracts.

“Works on the tank will commence this month, with the first of the pump stations to start in April.

“We anticipate all works to be completed by the end September this year,” Mr Rigby said.

For further information see the Harcourt Rural Modernisation Project page.

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