Connections Project

A message from Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville

The Victorian Government’s largest irrigation infrastructure project has delivered works to achieve the 429 gigalitres of water savings – on time and within budget.

The unprecedented modernisation undertaking is a legacy project which will secure the prosperity of the region for future generations – saving water for the environment, creating efficiencies and supporting irrigators’ productivity in the face of climate change.

Now that the targeted 429 GL in water savings have been achieved, it’s time for the Connections Project team to wind down the completed project.

The team will be doing minor ancillary works as required and continue to make themselves available to landowners.

Check out the special message to the Connections Project staff and stakeholders from Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville:

Project snapshot

Channels 1,725 
Channel decommissioned 

Water savings

Water savings (GL/year)

*416.75 GL audited water savings , opens in a new window as at June 2020

Meters 9,539
Meters installed

Legal agreements 4,317 
Legal agreements signed

Remediation 310
Channel remediation 

Landowners 7,709 
Landowners modernised


Connections reflections

With the Connections Project having reached its targeted 429 gigalitres of water savings, the Project Team have been checking in with community and project stakeholders as part of project close-out.

Connections Project Director Frank Fisseler and his team have reached out to community, stakeholders, the delivery team and colleagues within government to invite their perspective on the project.  

Check out the Connections Reflections series below to hear from those close to the Connections Project as they look back on the enormity of what has been achieved.

 Dan and Kevin's story

The Connections Project

Connections reflections


Water savings

The Connections Project is the nation’s largest water savings project.

The Millennium Drought demonstrated the importance of sustainable water use and supply.

Northern Victoria and the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID) have experienced several good rainfall seasons, but Australia is a country of extreme weather and water needs to be used more sustainably in the future.

Water is a precious resource and using it more efficiently and effectively is vital to our long-term sustainability as a region producing high quality, large quantity produce.

The Connection Project water savings have been achieved by decommissioning spur channels, upgrading backbone channels with plastic lining and clay remodelling, automating meters to provide significantly better accuracy and automating the operation of irrigation channels.

Of the water savings recovered during stage 2 of the Connections Project, 279 GL of water will be provided to the environment. These water savings are an important part of Victoria’s water recovery target of 1075 GL to meet its obligations for the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Prior to modernisation it was estimated up to 900 GL of water was being lost in the Goulburn Murray irrigation network annually through seepage, leakage, evaporation, meter error and unauthorised use.

With the project’s 429GL water savings target reached in 2020, it is estimated there will be an average increase in irrigation water delivery efficiency from about 70 per cent to at least 85 per cent.

The Victorian Government appoints an independent auditor to audit water savings from the project annually.

More information about these audits can be found on the Victorian  Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) , opens in a new window  website.

Third Reedy Lake

In early 2021, the Connections Project team resumed the final stages of the Third Reedy Lake Bypass project.

In order to complete the project at Third Reedy Lake, the water level needed to be drawn down in three stages, as part of a fish exit strategy. This enables the team to upgrade the inlet and transition the lake to a deep freshwater marsh - which are under-represented in the Kerang Lakes Ramsar complex.

We have been monitoring the lake with environmental consultants, aquatic ecologists and surveillance officers over several visits in January 2022 and February 2022. We have recently had aquatic ecologists at the lake undertaking fish salvage work to translocate native fish and remove carp from the system.

We will continue to monitor the lake level as it continues to slowly naturally dry as per the Operational Environmental Management Plan.