The use and management of water in Goulburn Valley

The use and management of water in Goulburn Valley

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The use and management of water in Goulburn Valley

Key Knowledge and skills

• Geographic characteristics

• Distribution of water resources

• Factors affecting patterns of water use

• Current management policies and strategies

Irrigation districts in the Goulburn Murray water region

Characteristics of the Goulburn river catchment

• Fertile soils• Cool winters• Warm – dry summers

= an ideal agricultural climate


However…….• Rainfall is low and unreliable

Therefore…..• Irrigation water is needed to take advantage of

these conditions

One of the most productive irrigated farming regions

• ~ 200,000 people live in the catchment• Work in:– Producing– Processing– Transporting agricultural products to regions within Australia and overseas.

Use of water

• Irrigation uses most of the water in the Goulburn catchment while the remainder meets – urban, – industrial and – environmental demands

During the recent drought water supplies were severely reduced

• Uses its water to produce $4.5 billion worth of:– Dairy foods– Wine– Grapes– Apples– Pears– Cherries– Berries and vegetables

Use of waterShepparton Irrigation Region (SIR)


• This region Contributes 25% of Victoria's export earnings.

• Some of Australia's largest food processing, dairy and canning companies are located here

Management of water Resources

Main storages in the Goulburn Valley region include.• Lake Eildon• Goulburn Weir• Waranga Basin

Movement • Water is released from these storages and

distributed via channels to the Shepparton and central Goulburn irrigation districts, and to the towns in the west and north west.


• Goulburn – Murray water is the company responsible for this regions water

• It stores, manages, and delivers the water through a complex system of dams, weirs and 6300 km of distribution channels to its 24 000 customers

Issues facing the Goulburn Valley region

• Similar to other parts of the basin including:– loss of biodiversity, – Land degradation– Rising water tables– Dry land salinity and – Supplying amounts of water for irrigation, and– Maintaining the rivers health

Issues• In 2009 – 2010 Goulburn-Murray Water began

the irrigation season with zero water allocations, because of low river flows

• Threatened farmers livelihood's and

• Victoria's food supplies


• 2010 – 2011 provided the highest irrigation allocations for 5 years and allowed water to be stored

• Before allocations to irrigation, sufficient supplies are required to meet:– Essential hygiene and – Domestic

• Other concerns = sugarloaf pipeline• Ballarat and Bendigo receive water piped from the



• To maintain high productivity must be more efficient • ~ 850 Gl of water lost annually through:– leaks, – seepage, – inaccurate metering of water and – evaporation

This is nearly 9 sugarloaf’s capacity

Out-dated infrastructure

Northern Victoria Irrigation Renewal(NVIR)

• was established in 2008 to deliver major changes to water delivery and improve infrastructure.

• Measures include:– More efficient flows to farms via– Automated channel control system– Repairing leaks and lining some channels– Reducing overflows

• By 2012 it was estimated that 225 GL of water will be saved

• 2.3 surgarloaf’s