The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Water bonus for irrigators

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More than 40 Wimmera River irrigators can access 100 percent of their surface-water allocation­s after consistent rain across the region.

Gwmwater advised irrigators of the move after water volumes reached a trigger level in July.

A Wimmera Catchment Surface Water and Groundwate­r Local Management Plan details diversion ‘trigger’ rules.

This allows surface-water licence holders access to their full allocation after a minimum of 10,000 megalitres has flowed through a Glenorchy gauging station on the Wimmera River at any time during the year.

Norton Estate winery owner Chris

Spence said the season was looking encouragin­g with regular rain reaching the required trigger allocation­s and building soil-moisture levels ahead of summer.

“The more rain we get at this time of year means there is more moisture in the soil when the vines wake up in the middle of September,” he said.

“If we get good rain again through October and November, that will set up the vines up for the upcoming summer and saves a lot of water use.”

Mr Spence said the surface-water allocation was an important resource for the vineyard and stock production as an alternativ­e to desalinate­d bore water.

“It’s important to have on hand to manage extreme weather over summer,” he said.

“When we have heat waves, we can extract enough water to give the vineyard a good watering over three to four days to avoid damage to the vines or the fruit we are producing.”

Mr Spence said although he had access to his full allocation, Norton Estate would only use what was required in the interest of protecting

“The more rain we get at this time of year means there is more moisture in the soil when the vines wake up in the middle of September” – Chris Spence, right

the natural environmen­t. “I’ve lived along the river for many years, I’m a fisherman and I thoroughly enjoy the Wimmera River at its best,” he said.

“The triggers are set up to allow protection of the river.”

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