Mul­wala Canal vi­tal to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - On The Land -

The Mul­wala Canal is vi­tal to lo­cal farm­ers and their com­mu­ni­ties, ac­cord­ing to Fed­eral Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture and Wa­ter Re­sources, David Lit­tleproud.

Min­is­ter Lit­tleproud got to see first-hand the strate­gic im­por­tance and na­tional sig­nif­i­cance of the iconic piece of in­fra­struc­ture when he toured Mur­ray Ir­ri­gation’s op­er­a­tional area last Thurs­day, Novem­ber 8.

The tour, hosted by Mur­ray Ir­ri­gation CEO Michael Rene­han and Chair­man Phil Snow­den, in­cluded stops at the Mul­wala Canal Off­take and The Drop hy­dro­elec­tric pow- er sta­tion, be­fore an of­fi­cial open­ing of the Fin­ley Town Sup­ply reg­u­la­tor.

Mr Rene­han said the Min­is­ter was im­pressed by the scale of the com­pany’s op­er­a­tions.

“We were able to show the Min­is­ter some of the up­grades we’ve made un­der the Com­mon­wealth-funded PIIOP3 project,” Mr Rene­han said.

“The Mul­wala Canal is the back­bone of our wa­ter de­liv­ery sys­tem, so it was good for him to see it in ac­tion.

“The Min­is­ter was also in­ter­ested to know more about our cus­tomers and how the Mul­wala Canal plays a part in sup­port­ing them.”

The re­cently up­graded Fin­ley Town Sup­ply reg­u­la­tor - one of 65 reg­u­la­tors up­graded un­der PIIOP3 – was of­fi­cially opened as part of the morn­ing’s tour.

“The Mul­wala Canal is vi­tal to farm­ers and their com­mu­ni­ties,” Min­is­ter Lit­tleproud said.

“Up­grades like this (to the Fin­ley Town Sup­ply reg­u­la­tor) mean ir­ri­ga­tors can make the best use of their wa­ter.

“I know that ir­ri­ga­tors in the NSW Mur­ray have been do­ing it tough with NSW yet to make an al­lo­ca­tion to gen­eral se­cu­rity this year, but when it does rain, and it will, be­ing able to get it when you need it makes all the dif­fer­ence.

“The new (Fin­ley Town Sup­ply) reg­u­la­tor will cut main­te­nance costs, in­creases safety and helps to fu­ture-proof wa­ter de­liv­ery in the re­gion.”

Dur­ing the visit re­gional lead­ers met with Min­is­ter Lit­tleproud and told him the Mur­ray Val­ley has noth­ing left to give to the basin plan and gov­ern­ment must recog­nise the dis­pro­por­tion­ate im­pact of the plan has al­ready placed on its com­mu­ni­ties.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Mur­ray Re­gional Strat­egy Group, which in­cludes com­mu­nity, in­dus­try, ir­ri­gation, In­dige­nous, coun­cil and farm­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions, met with the min­is­ter in De­niliquin to de­liver a united mes­sage for the re­gion.

Mur­ray Val­ley Pri­vate Divert­ers Chair An­drew Hicks, who was a mem­ber of the del­e­ga­tion, said the group was “very frank” with the min­is­ter.

“We made it very clear that the Mur­ray Val- ley is at tip­ping point. The South­ern Basin has con­trib­uted 82% of the wa­ter re­cov­ered un­der the basin plan, and this does not fac­tor in the con­tri­bu­tions to the en­vi­ron­ment by the val­ley pre basin plan,” Mr Hicks said.

He said mem­bers of the group gave ex­am­ples of why the Mur­ray Val­ley can­not with­stand fur­ther pol­icy-driven neg­a­tive im­pacts, which many are avoid­able.

“A num­ber of lead­ers de­scribed the con­se­quences al­ready be­ing felt by the re­gion and John Loli­cato of the Wakool River As­so­ci­a­tion left the min­is­ter in no doubt that the NSW Mur­ray does not sup­port fur­ther re­cov­ery of wa­ter en­ti­tle­ments un­der the 450GL. In­stead, we urged the gov­ern­ment to fo­cus on 2750GL.

“We all want to en­sure a healthy en­vi­ron­ment but to achieve this we be­lieve a more flex­i­ble and adap­tive ap­proach is needed for the long term sus­tain­abil­ity of the en­tire basin,” Mr Hicks said.

The Mul­wala Canal

It is the largest ir­ri­gation canal in the South­ern Hemi­sphere. The canal, start­ing at Lake Mul­wala, di­verts wa­ter from the Mur­ray River across the south­ern Rive­rina plain to the Ed­ward River at De­niliquin. The chan­nel has an off­take ca­pac­ity of 10,000 me­gal­itres (ML) per day and an­nu­ally sup­plies over 1,000,000 ML to 700,000 hectares (1,700,000 acres) in the Mur­ray Ir­ri­gation Area. The canal was con­structed be­tween 1935 and 1942 around the same time as the Yar­ra­wonga Weir.

Mur­ray Ir­ri­gation Lim­ited CEO Michael Rene­han with Fed­eral Wa­ter Min­is­ter Hon. David Lit­tleproud last week.

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