Water security for East Grampians farming communities

Posted Monday 30 April, 04:17pm

Water is set to flow to rural farms and properties in the East Grampians region, thanks to a multi-million-dollar investment in a new pipeline from the Andrews Labor Government.

Meeting with local farmers at Mt Langi Ghiran Vineyard on Monday, Minister Neville announced $32 million to fund Victoria’s share of the $85.2 million East Grampians Water Supply Project, delivered as part of the Victorian Budget 2018/19.

Farms and businesses like this vineyard would benefit from a more secure water supply, which will reduce operating costs and improve productivity.

Importantly, the project will also give farms and businesses more certainty about their future, allowing them to make long-term decisions including planting more crops, buying more stock or investing in equipment.

“These communities have been doing it tough in recent years due to drought. That’s why we’re delivering the water security these landholders, farmers and towns need and have been calling for,” Minister Neville said.

“This project will give local farmers the water security they desperately need – which supports jobs and means farmers no longer have to cart water during dry periods.”

The project will build 1,600 kilometres of stock and domestic pipeline for up to 530,000 hectares of land in the Grampians region – delivering a secure water supply to properties and farmers who currently have to rely on their own dams and carting water.

The pipeline will supply water to agricultural areas surrounding Ararat, and some sections of the Pyrenees and Northern Grampians Shires, where a more secure water supply will improve agricultural production and support local economies and local jobs.

The project has been backed by the Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water Board and the Project Steering Committee, which includes local council, government agencies and relevant Catchment Management Authorities.

In 2016, Minister Neville visited the region to announce the feasibility study for the pipeline, as part of the Labor Government’s broader response to the drought.

Last year, Minister Neville met with landholders in the region to announce that the project was feasible and would be overwhelmingly positive for the region.

The Federal Government now needs to step up and provide its share of the funding for the project, to ensure it can proceed.

Construction is expected to start at the end of next year and is likely to take around three years.