Stage 1 and Stage 2 of this important irrigation upgrade was undertaken initially by the Northern Victoria Irrigation Renewal Project (NVIRP). NVIRP was set up as a state-owned entity established under the State Owned Enterprise Act 1992 by an Order in Council dated 20 December 2007. NVIRP was led by an independent, skills-based Board with day-to-day stewardship the responsibility of Chief Executive Officer.
NVIRP was responsible for planning, designing, and delivering Australia's largest irrigation modernisation project, upgrading irrigation infrastructure in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID). The GMID covers 68 000 square kilometres and is Australia's most extensive irrigation network, stretching from past Swan Hill in the west to Cobram in the east and encompassing an agricultural hub known as Victoria's Food Bowl.
The outcomes from this project will be the most significant upgrade to the region's irrigation infrastructure in its 100-year history with automated technology and repairs to out-dated channels enhancing water delivery and efficiency. The project aims to recover water lost through leakage, seepage, evaporation and system inefficiencies through channel automation and remediation, metering upgrades and realigning the historical layout of the irrigation channels.
It is estimated that up to 900GL (Long Term Cap Equivalent) of water in the Goulburn Murray irrigation system is lost through leaks, evaporation and other inefficiencies. This $2 billion investment by the Federal and Victorian Governments, Melbourne Water and Goulburn-Murray Water aims to recover long-term average annual water savings of 425 gigalitres (GL) and increase irrigation water use efficiency from approximately 70 per cent to at least 85 per cent.
Modern channel automation technology is sensitive enough to detect discrepancies in water delivery and to identify where maintenance is required. Critical water level and flow monitoring via automated gates ensures precise amounts of water are delivered when and where they are needed, shortening ordering times and providing more consistent and reliable delivery of water to irrigators.
The project will redevelop the Goulburn Murray irrigation system into a world-class, best practice system and help secure the future of the region's $9 billion irrigated agricultural industries and $1.53 billion export market. The project will also enhance environmental flows and urban water supplies.
Irrigators will manage their businesses confidently knowing their water delivery is accurate and delivered at the requested time. This confidence will extend beyond the farm gate to support the region's future, attract investment and business, create new jobs and contribute millions of dollars to the local economy, further boosting regional development.
On 1 July 2012 the Northern Victoria Irrigation Renewal Project was merged with Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW). The project will be undertaken under the GMW banner until its completion in 2018.