South Australian pipeline becomes a reality

After 50 years of debate, Trevor Rees reports that funds are now in place for a major water saving network.

The 100 year old pipeline is the world’s largest open water channel system.

The 100 year old pipeline is the world’s largest open water channel system.

The parched northwest Wimmera Mallee district in the state of Victoria, in southern Australia is finally near to winning its 50year struggle for a piped domestic and stock water supply. Wimmera Mallee Water chairman, Mr Lance Netherway, said the Victorian Labour Government’s A$77M commitment in this year’s state Budget had been the most significant forward step for a water pipeline for this region.

The Australian Government has also affirmed its support for an extra A$3.5M in its federal Budget as its half share for the detailed piping design. The Federal Government had previously offered A$4M to keep piping works going. Deputy Prime Minister, Mr John Anderson, said the Government wanted the technical and design stage completed first. Mr Netherway said the federal commitment meant that the proposed A$30M pipeline project to save 93,000 megalitres of water a year, now had every chance of success.

‘We need to get the project up and running so that a hurting region, desperate for an assured supply of quality water, may benefit from the real and sustainable water savings achieved by piping,’ he said.

This most recent government funding comes after Wimmera Mallee Water had completed a pipelining feasibility study into the rest of its water supply system.

The study has developed a water management strategy that involves replacing the existing 17500kms channels with a new 6000kms pipeline system throughout 2.3 million hectares of the region.

In detail, the study proposed the designing of a pipeline system with the capacity to deliver water for current and future needs of the farms and 40 towns of the supply area.

An allocation of water saved by the pipeline system will go back to the region’s river network to restore the environmental damage in its waterways. The study also planned to provide water for new development in and outside the pipeline system, extending beyond the Wimmera Mallee Water operational area to assess the impact of pipelining on adjoining regions.


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