The Australian and Victorian Governments are both providing $266 million towards the estimated overall project cost of $688 million (excluding private landholder works). Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water is funding the balance.
About the project
The project targets water savings of 103 000 megalitres per year, by replacing 17 500km of open water channels with 8800km of pipeline. More than 85 per cent of water in this domestic stock and supply system is currently lost through evaporation and leakage. The project is expected to be completed in early 2010.
The project will provide a greater security of supply of high quality water to the region and significant water savings will be realised as environmental water for stressed rivers and economic growth opportunities for the region.
The project is consistent with the continuing national imperative to increase the productivity and efficiency of Australia's water use, to address the need to service rural and urban communities and to ensure the health of river systems by returning all systems to sustainable levels of extraction.
This project delivers on the Australian Government's commitment to improve water management as outlined in Securing Australia's Water Future at the last election.
The recovered water will be allocated to stressed river systems, water recreation and economic development respectively with:
- 80 000 megalitres per year going towards improving the environment of stressed rivers and wetlands including the Wimmera, Glenelg, Avon, Loddon and Murray rivers, the internationally important Ramsar Convention listed wetland of Lake Albacutya and terminal lakes important for migratory bird species
- 3 000 megalitres per year will be for recreational lakes, and 20 000 megalitres per year is going towards new enterprises that will directly help the region's economic growth. Farmers will have the opportunity to diversify into new value-added stock and horticulture enterprises, such as growing tomatoes in greenhouses.
Progress to date
The project was completed on 15 April 2010, well ahead of schedule and under budget.
Water Smart Australia projects are funded by the Australian Government's Water for the Future initiative.