Mulwala Canal vital to local communities
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.