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Herbicide treatment in Waranga Western Channel

Following the beginning of the irrigation season back on 15 August 2020, sections of channel system in the Waranga Western Channel in the Loddon Valley Irrigation Area have seen an increase in weed infestation. This weed has created issues for some customers, and for Goulburn Murray Water (GMW) ensuring reliable and appropriate level of service.

To address this issue in time for the autumn peak water use period in autumn, GMW will be treating sections of the affected channel with a herbicide to remove the weed causing the problems. GMW has used this herbicide for the past 40 years. The herbicide is injected directly into flowing water, causing the plants to die and disintegrate. Improved water flow rates will be the result in just a few days after the treatment.

This treatment will be completed between 9am and 5pm Friday, 26 February 2021. This is pending favourable weather conditions, and we will inform affected customers if there are any changes to this date.

What you need to do

Water for irrigation during this time will be safe and available for use, however there will be a non-water use period of 72 hours for stock and domestic purposes. This means water during this 72 hour period is not recommended for consumption by livestock; the non-water use period will end at 9am Monday 1 March 2021.

To ensure you are prepared for this short-term period, GMW encourages you to prepare any on farm storage capacity you have, or any other measures appropriate to your property. A map of the area is available for download. A fact sheet providing more information about the treatment is also available.

About herbicide treatment

When planning herbicide treatment in the channel system, GMW works closely with relevant agencies including Catchment Management Authorities, Victorian Fisheries Authority and the Environment Protection Authority to ensure the application is conducted in a controlled and safe manner.

For this treatment, GMW has engaged a specialist with the VFA to use electrofishing as part of this channel treatment, to net as many fish as possible and move them out of the channel to be injected with the herbicide.

Our operational planning for these types of treatment is extensive, to ensure the best outcomes for our customers, aquatic life and the environment. We are also forward planning for the irrigation shutdown period to look at other ways to treat aquatic weeds to ensure herbicide treatment is used sparingly and as a last resort.

Help and more information

For more information, or to discuss your water needs, please phone GMW Customer Relationship Consultant Malcolm Pearson on 0447 671 181, or our Customer Contact Centre on 1800 013 357.