Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

$50 million to support Murrumbidgee Irrigation to boost efficiency

Media release
8 July 2011

Irrigation efficiency in the Murrumbidgee will be boosted by a Gillard Government project to upgrade water delivery systems and return water to the environment.

Water Minister Tony Burke today said work would get underway on a $50 million project, to be delivered in partnership with Murrumbidgee Irrigation, to upgrade the region's irrigation systems and return six billion litres of water back to the Murray Darling.

"I am determined to achieve a plan for the Murray Darling that delivers healthy rivers, strong communities and sustainable food production," Mr Burke said.

"We will continue to invest in infrastructure upgrades and improve the efficiency and productivity of our irrigation industry while we recover water for the rivers."

Water saved is helping communities and irrigators to 'bridge the gap' between existing water diversions and future sustainable diversion limits under a final Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Works under the $50 million project will include replacing a deteriorating concrete-lined and earthed channel supply system at Lake Wyangan with an integrated solution of up to 48 kilometres of pipelines (gravity, low and high pressure) and up to 3.5 kilometres of refurbished open channels totalling up to 51.5 kilometres in length.

The use of such infrastructure can create water savings by recovering water lost to seepage and evaporation.

Murrumbidgee Irrigation managing director, Brett Tucker, said the organisation had worked closely with the Government over the last 12 months to finalise the funding agreement including resolving taxation issues

"We are committed to a collaborative approach with our customers to ensure all aspects are successfully delivered," Mr Tucker said.

Infrastructure works are due to begin immediately in the Lake Wyangan area and the project is due to be completed in 2014.