Water Efficiency Project

Following the success of the GMW Connections Project, which delivered 429 gigalitres of water savings, Goulburn-Murray Water has begun work on the Water Efficiency Project (WEP). The $177.5 million modernisation project is funded by the Commonwealth Government and delivers an additional 15.9 gigalitres of water savings to the region without on farm works.

WEP is expected to improve irrigation standards for more than 1000 customers and produce about 1000 regional jobs during construction, avoiding buy-backs for irrigators.

The Project will reduce ongoing asset liability, reducing costs for the organisation and in turn our customers. It is expected to achieve an estimated regional GDP increase of $167.5 million.  

Work has started with a Winter Works package in 2021 and is expected to be completed in 2023.

For more information, read our Frequently asked questions.

About the Work 

WEP delivers water savings within the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District to Loddon Valley, Torrumbarry, Central Goulburn, Murray Valley, Shepparton and Rochester and involves treating over 250km of channel and more than 1,000 outlets.

Project Map 

WEP project map
Water Efficiency Project Map - annotations repeated below. Proposed figures only. Subject to scope development.

Loddon Valley - Area including Pyramid Hill

  • 16.4 km Channel Decommissioning
  • 31.9 km Channel Modernisation
  • 9 outlets Rationalised
  • 33 outlets Modernised

Torrumbary - Area including Swan Hill, Kerang and Cohuna

  • 55.5 km  Channel Decommissioning
  • 21.2 km Channel Modernisation
  • 60 outlets Rationalised
  • 178 outlets Modernised

Rochester - Area including Rochester and Echuca

  • 17.9 km Channel Decommissioning
  • 1.1km Channel Modernisation
  • 5 outlets Rationalised
  • 169 outlets Modernised
 Central Goulburn - Area including Kyabram and Tatura
  • 31.5 km Channel Decommissioning
  • 31.5 Channel Modernisation
  • 56 outlets Rationalised
  • 218 outlets Modernised

Murray Valley - Area including Nathalia, Numurkah and Cobram

  • 27.9 km Channel Decommissioning
  • 6.8km Channel Modernisation
  • 18 outlets Rationalised
  • 96 outlets Modernised


  • 2.7 km Channel Decommissioning
  • 21.6 km Channel Modernisation
  • 5 outlets Rationalised
  • 174 outlets Modernised


Project Timeline 

There are a number of phases in the WEP timeline. Throughout the project engagement with landowners will be a priority.

WEP Project Timeline

Water Efficiency Project Phases

  1. State & Commonwealth Funding Approved

  2. Winter Works 2021 Construction (We are currently here)

  3.  In-Season Construction 2021 / 2022 (We are currently here)

  4.  In-Season Construction 2022 / 23

  5. Winter Works 2022 Construction

  6. Final Construction Works

Winter Works 2021

The WEP kicked off this year with a Winter Works 2021 package focusing on the Shepparton East area.

The package involved:

  • automating 21 km of channel
  • converting 1.7 km of channel into pipeline
  • decommissioning 1km of channel with on-farm work
  • upgrading 179 outlets.

This work will result in one gigalitre of water savings and enables the implementation of Total Channel Control across more of the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District.

WEP winter works
Infrastructure upgrade at Shepparton East as part of WEP's Winter Works 2021 program. Credit: Kayla Frizzell.

In-Season Construction 2021/22 

While we aim to package our work during the winter irrigation shutdown to minimise impact to irrigators, the WEP team will continue delivering WEP In-Season. We will focus on engaging with landowners, looking for efficiencies in the system, channel decommissioning, pipeline installation, and metre treatments.

We expect to deliver an additional two gigalitres of water savings by March 2022.

Landowner Agreements

Any work needed to connect your on-farm infrastructure to a reconfigured supply must be agreed to by Landowners. We do this with Landowner Agreements. This involves an eight-step process which is outlined below.  

It’s important that Landowners start to participate in the process as early as possible by attending group channel meetings. This will ensure you’re informed of our plans as early as possible and we’re able to input your knowledge into our plans early in the process. Channel meetings can happen onsite or online. More information about online meetings is available below.

WEP landowner agreements timeline

  1. Getting Started - Each Landowner will receive an introductory letter with details of a group channel meeting and a point of contact who will be the dedicated contact through the process.
  2. Channel Concept - Landowners attend a group channel meeting where we will outline the initial desktop plans for the channel that services each property.
  3. Consulting & Refining - We then meet with each landowner individually to talk about how the changes affect each farm. This stage may include site visits and studies.
  4. Final Plans - We will review the plans ensuring they reflect our engagement to date and meet our operational rules. We then present each landowner with a formal offer.
  5. Your Review - Landowners have 30 days to review the plans and respond to the offer.
  6. Our (GMW) Review - The project will review the plan again and ensure it aligns with our operational rules, at this stage we will also review any feedback or submissions received – where necessary we will refer comments for independent review.
  7. Adopt the Plan - The plan is formally adopted, this the landowner’s final chance to sign the plan – at this stage it becomes known as a reconfiguration plan.
  8. Construction - The project will now be built, tested and commissioned.

More information is available in our landowner guides.

Online Landowner Sessions

Online Landowner Sessions

While we typically introduce Landowners to Reconfiguration Plans via in person Channel Meetings, we recently had to shift our Channel Meetings online to help us comply with public health orders. 

In order to help Landowners who may not be used to this form of communication, we have been taking “practice calls” with those new to using Microsoft Teams.

If you have a Channel Meeting coming up that you’d like some support for, please contact the Project Team.


Project Planning Engagement (2020)

Consultation was carried out in 2020 to assess the Project against the socio-economic criteria.

Following consultation, the Victorian Minister for Water assessed the proposal against the socio-economic criteria, taking into account the views of the community from public consultation. The project was determined to have expected neutral or positive socio-economic outcomes.

The Project was then submitted to the Commonwealth Government for funding consideration which was secured.

For more information about the assessment process view the customer webinar presentation and summaries below or visit the  Engage Victoria website.

More Information

If you have any questions, please phone 1300 163 006 or email  wep@gmwater.com.au