The $120 million Sunraysia Modernisation Project, the largest infrastructure upgrade in the Sunraysia region in over 100 years, is now complete, benefiting 2,000 irrigators across the Mildura, Red Cliffs and Merbein districts.
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the Sunraysia Modernisation Project was already delivering benefits to local irrigators and congratulated those involved on the successful completion of the project.
“The completed project will generate water savings of at least 7GL annually in the Mildura region, while providing water access 365 days a year,” Mr Joyce said.
“I want to congratulate Lower Murray Water, the local contractors and suppliers, and the local farmers who participated in the project. Not only was work completed on time and under budget but 23.9km of open channel has been replaced, 15.9km more than originally planned.”
Federal Member for Mallee, Andrew Broad, said the project involved the replacement of open irrigation channels with low pressure pipelines and the upgrading of key pump stations in the Mallee district and was already delivering benefits to irrigators across the Mildura, Red Cliffs and Merbein districts.
“This project is helping around 2,000 irrigators across Sunraysia to increase productivity while using less water, and will promote sustainable growth and development in the region for many decades to come,” Mr Broad said.
Merbein grower, Richard Wells, said he has seen significant savings on his property since the installation of the pipeline which has reduced filter backwashing from every 40 minutes to every two-and-a-half hours.
“This has not only given me more on-farm efficiency, it also increases the longevity and the lifespan of my filters, thereby reducing costs,” Mr Wells said.
Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, said the project highlights the Government’s strong belief in the future of irrigated agriculture in the Murray-Darling Basin and its ability to continue to deliver for Australia’s economy and local communities.
“That’s why we are making it a priority to invest in better infrastructure, not water buybacks, through the implementation of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“Under the Basin Plan more than $8 billion has been made available for more modern and efficient water infrastructure across the Basin, which is the biggest investment in water infrastructure in our nation’s history.”