More than 2,500ML of water is set to return to the environment from across Griffith and Leeton after the Federal Government green-lit the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Urban Channel Pipelines proposal.  
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More than 2,500ML of water is set to return to the environment from across Griffith and Leeton after the Federal Government green-lit the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Urban Channel Pipelines proposal.  

It marks an overall project investment of up to $63.5 million, including $62.2 million directly into the New South Wales Riverina, which will replace ageing concrete and dirt open channels with a new state-of-the-art pipeline across Murrumbidgee Irrigation’s urban water network.  

“Improving and modernising Murrumbidgee Irrigation’s water delivery system is a huge step forward when it comes to water efficiency, reducing water losses, boosting environmental returns and meeting our Basin Plan obligations,” Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) Executive Director -– Infrastructure Development, Lisa Hingerty, said. 

The works will reduce water losses from evaporation and seepage while more efficiently delivering supplies to irrigators, stock, domestic customers, and towns.  

“It also helps Leeton, Griffith, and the agricultural communities that rely on Murrumbidgee Irrigation’s supply network to better prepare for a sustainable water future,” Ms Hingerty said. 

The project will also create significant employment opportunities for local workers. Up to $45 million will go directly to local contractors to deliver the project  

“The project is also a game-changer for regional employment, with up to $45 million going straight to local contractors, including earthmoving, gravel supply, concrete, piping, framework, heavy machinery and automation hardware and software,” Ms Hingerty said. 

It’s the first project under the new Resilient Rivers Water Infrastructure Program, which builds on and replaces the former Off-farm Efficiency Program.  

The project will replace over 45km of open supply channels and 1.4km of leaking pipeline with a new 47.5km one. It will remove 33 escapes and allow for the reconfiguration of the network for greater water efficiency. The works will seek to reduce losses and enable precise water control and delivery, saving 2675ML of water. Over 2500ML of that water will go back into the environment.  

It will help increase water security for people in Leeton, Griffith, and surrounding areas by allowing residents to connect to a raw water pipeline, easing the burden on the town’s water supply. Further, councils can install new public walking paths and green spaces by repurposing land that currently hosts open channels. They can also upgrade roadside drainage while reducing road maintenance requirements. 

The saved water will allow New South Wales to continue to progress towards its Murray-Darling Basin Plan targets and boost the health of Basin waterways and the ecosystems that rely on them.  

The Resilient Rivers Water Infrastructure Program supports the delivery of the 450GL water recovery target under the Basin Plan. Applications are now open. 

Image: 169169/stock.adobe.com

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