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The $126.5 million Murrumbidgee Irrigation Automation Finalisation Project is boosting the health of New South Wales rivers, with the return of 6.29GL of water to the environment.  

The landmark project is overhauling infrastructure to improve water efficiency across 190,000ha of irrigated land including upgrading 1,500 metered outlets, automating 308 regulators, refurbishing 20km of open earth channels and constructing a new 5000ML surge reservoir. 

The project is being funded through the Federal Government’s commitment to deliver the Murray-Darling Basin Plan through the Off-farm Efficiency Program. 

The program has now closed and is replaced by the new Resilient Rivers Water Infrastructure Program, for which applications are now open.  

The environmental water return has been delivered and the majority of infrastructure upgrades are complete, with the remaining works to be finalised in early 2025. 

Around 100 jobs have been created during the construction phase and is expected to result in over 130 direct roles across the region through the program. 

New South Wales Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, Executive Director – Infrastructure Development, Lisa Hingerty, said that projects such as the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Automation Finalisation Project are a valuable contribution towards delivering 450GL of water for the environment under the Basin Plan. 

“This is about empowering the water delivery network to better prepare for the future,” Ms Hingerty said.  

“It leads the way in showing how investment in infrastructure can enable more efficient use of our most precious resource, for the benefit of the environment, water users and the community. 

“This work is great news for the region as it allows farms and other agricultural businesses to produce crops more sustainably while also benefiting the environment. 

“It’s a wonderful example of achieving Basin Plan objectives through infrastructure projects in a way which balances economic, social, cultural and ecological outcomes which is a win-win for everyone.” 

Featured image: 6.29GL of water now returned to the environment through the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Automation Finalisation Project. Image: New South Wales Government.  

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