Lower Murray Water recently announced the appointment of a contractor for the Sunraysia Modernisation Project (SMP) to complete the upgrading and standardising of water meters on properties in Mildura, Merbein and Red Cliffs.
Comdain Civil Constructions will co-ordinate the upgrade of approximately 2000 old-style mechanical irrigation water meters and 2000 domestic and stock outlets.
The new meters will measure water deliveries more accurately, provide more timely information to growers and Lower Murray Water and bring the Sunraysia district into line with required national metering standards.
Project Director, Mr Mike Walsh, said the new meters would also allow customers access to real-time metering data via the Lower Murray Water website.
“The new meters mean all irrigation customers across the three districts will be more equitably metered and supplied, and, importantly, they will have real-time access to their water flow rate and consumption information,” Mr Walsh said.
“That means for the first time growers will be able to monitor online in real-time what water is actually being delivered to their properties, even when they are away from the property.”
Mr Walsh said the new meters would also build more efficiency and flexibility into the water delivery system as a whole.
“More accurate monitoring of where water is actually going means the system can run at maximum efficiency, providing water to as many properties as possible, particularly in peak operating periods such as summer heatwaves.”
Mr Walsh said Comdain would roll out the metering installations to remaining properties over the next 18 months.
Approximately 350 new meters have already been upgraded to meet a June 30 SMP project milestone.
The $120 million SMP is a joint initiative between the Commonwealth and Victorian State Governments and Lower Murray Water and involves a program of works to modernise the Mildura, Red Cliffs and Merbein irrigation districts.
Much of the district’s irrigation infrastructure is 50 to 100 years old, and the SMP represents the biggest upgrade of the irrigation infrastructure in the district’s history. The SMP is funded from the Commonwealth government’s contribution and from within the existing LMW funded capital works budget.
Mr Walsh said tenders were closing in early July for the major components of the project, the upgrading of district pumping stations and construction of new pipelines.
The Sunraysia Modernisation Project will:
• Upgrade the key irrigation pump stations in Sunraysia
• Replace approx. 8km of main open channel with pipeline, including approx. 5km through urban areas
• Decommission redundant pipeline in the Mildura area
• Upgrade over 2000 irrigation meters and upgrade approx 2400 domestic and stock outlets
• Install channel automation in the remaining open channel
• Construct a new pump station at Benetook K West Area (Mildura South) and install low pressure pipeline
Project outcomes will include:
• Improving access to irrigation during winter, enhancing the opportunity for new crop plantings and increasing yield potential for existing crops
• Increasing water quality and reducing water filtration costs on-farm
• Allowing 365 days per year watering for more properties
• Increasing accuracy of meter readings
• Reducing the incidence of system shut down and potential loss of production and crops
• Reducing operational and maintenance costs
• 7GL of water savings and improved environmental watering of the Woorlong Wetlands and Cardross Lakes.