The Victorian Government and Lower Murray Water (LMW) have launched public consultation on the $37 million Lower Murray Water – Water Efficiency Project, set to upgrade infrastructure in the Sunraysia Irrigation District.

If approved by the Commonwealth for funding, the project is expected to result in water savings and a more reliable and efficient system for irrigators.

The public consultation aims to gain feedback from stakeholders and the community on the proposal as part of the process for determining funding.

The project would build on the successful delivery of the Sunraysia Modernisation Projects by upgrading outdated infrastructure within the pumped irrigation districts of Mildura, Red Cliffs and Merbein.

The project plans to recover an estimated 2.5 gigalitres of water from system losses such as leaks and evaporation by upgrading close to 30km of irrigation supply channels and replacing around 700 stock, domestic and dethridge meters.

Victoria would provide 1.8 gigalitres of water recovered from system losses to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder as part of Victoria’s obligations under the Basin Plan – recovering environmental water without the need for buybacks.  

The project would share the remainder of savings between LMW and the Victorian Government to increase urban water security for Mallee towns and support outcomes for Traditional Owners.

Victorian Minister for Water, Lisa Neville, said, “We want to deliver socio-economic benefits in Sunraysia, meet our Basin plan obligations, provide improved systems for irrigators and support Traditional Owners’ access to water where we can without buybacks.        

“I’m asking the community to have their say so we can be confident this project will provide benefits for all stakeholders and the Sunraysia as a whole.”

The project acknowledges Traditional Owners and their strong and ongoing connection to the land and waters of Victoria. It is also expected to create 110 local construction and project delivery jobs.

The state-led application process requires the Victorian Government to assess the project’s compliance with the agreed Basin Plan socio-economic criteria prior to submitting the project to the Commonwealth for funding consideration. More information on the consultation can be found here.

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