The first phase of the $32 million Macalister Irrigation Modernisation Project in Victoria has been completed and the second phase of the upgrade has begun.

The next stage of the project will replace ageing and inefficient channel systems with around 38km  of pipeline and automate a further 33km of channels.

The $60 million second phase will deliver an extra $45-50 million to Victoria’s economy each year and is jointly funded by irrigators, the Victorian Government and Commonwealth Government through its National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

Minister for Water, Lisa Neville, has signed an agreement, which, pending Commonwealth approval, will release the Commonwealth’s $20 million contribution to the project.

The Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, said, “Modernising critical water infrastructure is crucial for dairy farmers across our Gippsland region. This doesn’t just improve water efficiency on farm, but ensures the environmental sustainability of the industry long term.”

The Macalister Irrigation District projects include:

  • Upgrading 279km of channels built in the 1920s and 1950s through channel automation and pipeline
  • Technology that regulates water supply to reduce water losses and improve service to customers
  • State-of-the-art design of the Southern Tinamba Pipeline
  • The construction of a balancing water storage near the Thomson River to save water and improve supply
  • Modernising outlets that distribute water to farmers

The Macalister Irrigation District is a powerhouse of the Victorian agricultural sector, contributing an estimated $500 million to the Victorian economy.

It is now operating at a record 80 per cent efficiency, and the next phase of the project will further increase efficiency and water savings.

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