Lower Murray Water (LMW) have announced the regional winners of the Rural Water Awards for 2014. Irymple South Primary School is the regional winner for “Education and Community Groups” and Andrew Peace Wines has received the regional award for “Surface Water User”.

The awards are in partnership with Southern Rural Water (SRW), Goulburn-Murray Water (G-MW), Coliban Water, Melbourne Water, Victorian Water, Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF), and the Department of Environment & Primary Industries (DEPI). Regional category winners are now eligible for judging at the State level with a Gala luncheon presentation being held in Melbourne in December.

Managing Director, Phil Endley said “These awards have been designed to showcase excellence and leadership in our region and the two local winners have implemented new and innovative ways of utilising and reusing water and technologies in their fields.”

“Regional winners are recognised with a $500 cash prize and LMW will also be providing recognition through our website and newsletters of their innovative idea. In these tight economic times LMW is committed to supporting growers and the community to further develop new and innovative technologies for on-farm use to improve yield, reduce water consumption and share the knowledge with other members of the industry.”

Andrew Peace Wines has been recognised for its innovation for adapting efficient water practices to dryland farming. The company had no previous experience in dryland farming. However, the installation and commissioning of the works was done through internal resources. The sub surface drip irrigation has been installed across an area of 490Ha, essentially converting the land to irrigated cropping.

Project Supervisor of Andrew Peace Wines, Mr Calum Peace said “sub-surface drip irrigation to conserve water and increase yield for dry land farming is a relatively new practice and we hope to reap the rewards in the next couple of years.”

Irymple South Primary School has been recognised for its utilisation of rain water as part of their vegetable garden, worm farm and chicken pen. The students are actively involved in managing all facets of the gardens with produce then sold at regular school markets, profits are used to restock the garden and to purchase chicken feed. The aim of the garden was to be fully self-sustainable.

Principal of Irymple South Primary School, Robyn Brooks, stated “our school is focused on looking after and appreciating our environment by living healthy lives. We reuse what we can and recycle where we are able. Our water tanks are used to catch rain from classroom roofs which is used to irrigate our vegetable garden, orchard, and provide water for our chickens”

“The school believes in giving our students the full picture from the incubation, hatching and hand rearing of our chickens to allocating garden monitors to feed the worms, collect the eggs, and check the orchard and vegetable gardens. Students are also encouraged to monitor rain fall and weather events which affect the growth and yield of the orchard and vegetable garden.”

LMW is committed to the future of the region and local growers and community groups and it is exciting to see such great success stories in this economic climate.

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