Water Efficiency Project

A message from Project Director Sean Tenace

A photograph of WEP Project Director Sean TenaceIt has been a real pleasure to lead the Water Efficiency Project (WEP) and oversee the Project achieve its targeted delivery of 15.9 GL of annual water savings.

Project works were spread right across the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District, improving water delivery for customers from Swan Hill to Shepparton. Completing a project of this size requires hard work, dedication, and a willingness to go above and beyond. The Water Efficiency Project Team displayed these qualities in spades, and I am immensely grateful for their efforts.

I would also like to acknowledge the work of former Project Director, Frank Fisseler, who guided the establishment of WEP and set the Project up for success. The success of the Project is also due in no small part to the work of the Project Control Group, and the support of Goulburn-Murray Water Managing Director Charmaine Quick (who also served on the Project Control Group). On behalf of the team, thank you.

Finally, thank you also to the customers and community of Goulburn-Murray Water for working so closely with us as we delivered this project. I am so pleased we were able to achieve such a great outcome for our customers, the region, and the environment.

Sean Tenace
Project Director


An image showing the WEP Project at a Glance - $177.5 million investment in the region, over 500,000 project hours with zero lost time injuries, 350+ legal agreements signed, 250km+ channels treated, 1000 landowners modernised, 15.9GL contracted water savings


Saving 15.9GL of water

A water drop depicting 15.9GL water savingsThe Water Efficiency Project (WEP) has followed in the footsteps of the successful Connections Project, enhancing the agricultural productivity and overall prosperity of our region.

Funded by the Australian Government for $177.5 million, the Water Efficiency Project (WEP) has delivered over 15.9 GL of annual water savings. This was achieved by improving water efficiency and irrigation standards for over 1000 customers across the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District. 

As of October 2023, the Water Efficiency Project (WEP) has completed all works required to achieve the water savings target of 15.9GL.

WEP has upgraded and automated infrastructure across the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District, reducing water lost to channel leakage and seepage, as well as inaccurate water meters. 

WEP was an off-farm modernisation project, meaning the project achieved its water savings by focusing on the ageing assets that deliver water to private farms. 

The water recovered for the environment through WEP does not take water from the consumptive pool; the savings have been made by reducing water lost through less efficient delivery methods.

The successful delivery of WEP has also reduced ongoing asset liability and costs for Goulburn-Murray Water, and in turn our customers.

A map of the region showing completed works locations.Spotlight on capital works


WEP delivered one of its most significant packages of work in and around the township of Kerang, contributing almost 1GL of water savings. Around 8.5 kilometres of open channel was decommissioned and replaced with 8 kilometres of pipeline, including within the town itself. These works provided a more efficient water service to over 100 customers and improved safety in the town. The Kerang community had long been advocating for these works, and the WEP team is delighted to have delivered them. 


Positive engagement with customers in the Loddon Valley area enabled the Project Team to decommission 20 kilometres of open channel.


In Waaia, more than 7 kilometres of open channel was decommissioned and replaced with a new pumped pipeline. This work has improved water delivery efficiency and eliminated water losses from the ageing system, allowing irrigators to access water deliveries within 24 hours, instead of several days. 


In and around Echuca, WEP modernised infrastructure and replaced inefficient open channels with more than 11 kilometres of gravity pipeline. This work improved water delivery for around 100 landowners. 

In Bamawm, WEP decommissioned a channel and returned it to the landholder to establish a private wetland area in coordination with the local Catchment Management Authority.  


As a result of the Project Team’s work in the Central Goulburn area, it has been possible to decommission almost 20 kilometres of open channel and install more than 140 modernised service points.  Working closely with landowners, the Project Team was able to deliver private reconnection works for affected properties as well as offer landowners the opportunity to improve service arrangements by accessing project funds.


WEP completed some of its most significant works in the Shepparton area. This included decommissioning or modernising almost 25 kilometres of open channel and modernising nearly 175 outlets. These modernisation works better suits changing customer needs within a more urban area.  

WEP was also able to remove an open channel next to Shepparton East Primary School, providing a safety benefit to the children and wider school community.