Irrigation infrastructure in Werribee and Bacchus Marsh will be upgraded, following an announcement that the Victorian Government will invest in the region’s irrigation.

The Victorian Government will provide $11.4million for Werribee and $5million for Bacchus Marsh as part of the Victorian Budget for 2016/17, with upgrades including the construction of new pipelines to replace open channels.

The investment aims to ensure the ongoing viability of farm businesses in both districts by supporting existing jobs in agriculture and related industries, as well as helping to create new on-farm positions through boosting farm production.

The Werribee Irrigation District upgrade will see 39km of open channels replaced with pipelines, saving five billion litres of water a year. This will support 660 existing jobs and help create 18 new on-farm positions.

The Werribee Irrigation District covers an area of 3000ha, of which 2350ha is used for intensive horticulture, chiefly broccoli, lettuce and cauliflowers, with a farm gate value of more than $187million a year.

The Bacchus Marsh upgrade will modernise 43km of irrigation infrastructure, mainly through replacing open channels with pipelines, generating 1.1billion litres of water savings annually.

This will support 430 jobs in agriculture and related industries and lead to 42 new positions.

The Bacchus Irrigation District covers an area of about 1000ha and produces lettuces, tree fruit, turf for commercial home use and other produce generating about $50million a year.

Two thirds of the water saved from these projects will be returned to irrigators to boost agricultural production and irrigation system reliability while the remaining third will be provided to the environment.

Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville said, “Werribee and Bacchus Marsh irrigators have been doing it tough with on-going dry conditions and ageing irrigation infrastructure.

“These projects will give Victoria’s biggest producers of vegetables a secure water supply for the future.”

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