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Murray Irrigation’s Winter Works completed early. Read more here.

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Two percent allocation a positive sign for our region

Southern Riverina farmers have two more reasons to smile this week, with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) announcing a General Security water allocation; the first early season allocation in two years.

Phil Endley, CEO, said that recent rain had brought new hope to struggling farmers who, earlier in the year, thought they’d be facing their third consecutive year of zero General Security water allocation.

“This announcement, coupled with our recent Allocation Advance and the unexpected supplementary water event, is a welcome start to the season; providing many customers with increased confidence in which to plan for spring.

“This was further boosted by the DPIE’s decision to extend the supplementary water event. By safely accelerating our Winter Works maintenance program, we’ve been able to open many of our channels and canals earlier than planned, so even more customers have access to this.

“This has allowed us to divert 16GL of water through our system and deliver 7.4GL of water that was neither expected nor planned.

“Supplementary water is opportunistic and only made available when third party agencies deem there to be surplus water in the system that cannot be regulated or captured for future use, and is not needed to meet current demands,” Phil said

Murray Irrigation traditionally closed its infrastructure during the winter period to conduct its maintenance and upgrade works. The move this year to a rolling three-year program meant that many customers, who historically would not have had access to supplementary water at this time of year, could take advantage of the event.

“Our new asset management approach effectively extends the irrigation season for two-thirds of our customers while we complete maintenance work in the other third. This happens on a three-year rotational basis to ensure its fair for all and allows us to access our whole system. We will continue to review and make further improvements to this approach as required.

“The great news about this, is that it allows more customers to irrigate during winter and to take advantage of unexpected water like the recent supplementary water event.

“Ultimately though, all customers are likely to benefit from this event through the future distribution of other products in our WaterWell suite, including the Resource Distribution.

“Our aim is to capitalise on our increased system efficiencies and leverage our bulk licence to make up to 100GL available to customers at the start of the irrigation season through WaterWell, and offer more seasonal certainty for farmers,” Phil concluded.

Note: the DPIE’s Allocation Statement can be found here.