Investment in modernisation, overall management and a focus on loss savings have resulted in Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) operating the gravity irrigation network with the lowest outfall volumes ever experienced.
Outfalls refer to excess or unused water that flows through the system without being put to productive use. Outfalls from GMW’s gravity irrigation network are now at their lowest level since recording began in the 2000/01 irrigation season.
GMW Customer Operations Manager Scott Barber said that during the Millennium Drought there was intense focus on recording and reducing all water loss, such as outfall volumes.
After the drought ended, GMW maintained its focus on channel operating efficiency and saving water, with outfalls playing a major role.
“The modernised irrigation network, combined with improved management of outfalls by the 24/7 water delivery team and local area staff has seen outfall figures reduce from 16,244ML in 2014/15 to 5,030ML so far in 2017/18. This includes the outfall performance during the intense rainfall that occurred in November and December 2017.”
Mr Barber said the reduction of outfalls provides significant community and customer benefits.
“This outcome increases water availability in storage for future years, which also has long term benefits for the broader community.
“With the Connections Project aimed for completion in 2020, these outfall figures provide us with a good indicator for where we should be operating under a fully automated network into the future.” Mr Barber said.
Outfall data is one of the measures used by the Connections Project to calculate and validate water savings. The data is also used to determine area efficiency and used for annual reporting to calculate water deliveries.