The use and management of water in Goulburn Valley

The use and management of
water in Goulburn Valley
Key Knowledge and skills
• Geographic characteristics
• Distribution of water resources
• Factors affecting patterns of water use
• Current management policies and strategies
Irrigation districts in the Goulburn
Murray water region
Characteristics of the Goulburn river
• Fertile soils
• Cool winters
• Warm – dry summers
= an ideal agricultural climate
• Rainfall is low and unreliable
• Irrigation water is needed to take advantage
of these conditions
One of the most productive irrigated
farming regions
• ~ 200,000 people live in the catchment
• Work in:
– Producing
– Processing
– Transporting
agricultural products to regions within Australia and
Use of water
• Irrigation uses most of the water in the
Goulburn catchment while the remainder
– urban,
– industrial and
– environmental demands
During the recent drought water supplies were
severely reduced
Use of water
Shepparton Irrigation Region (SIR)
• Uses its water to produce $4.5 billion worth
– Dairy foods
– Wine
– Grapes
– Apples
– Pears
– Cherries
– Berries and vegetables
• This region Contributes 25% of Victoria's
export earnings.
• Some of Australia's largest food processing,
dairy and canning companies are located here
Management of water Resources
Main storages in the Goulburn Valley region
• Lake Eildon
• Goulburn Weir
• Waranga Basin
• Water is released from these storages and
distributed via channels to the Shepparton
and central Goulburn irrigation districts, and
to the towns in the west and north west.
• Goulburn – Murray water is the company
responsible for this regions water
• It stores, manages, and delivers the water
through a complex system of dams, weirs and
6300 km of distribution channels to its 24 000
Issues facing the Goulburn Valley
• Similar to other parts of the basin including:
– loss of biodiversity,
– Land degradation
– Rising water tables
– Dry land salinity and
– Supplying amounts of water for irrigation, and
– Maintaining the rivers health
• In 2009 – 2010 Goulburn-Murray Water began
the irrigation season with zero water
allocations, because of low river flows
• Threatened farmers livelihood's and
• Victoria's food supplies
• 2010 – 2011 provided the highest irrigation allocations
for 5 years and allowed water to be stored
• Before allocations to irrigation, sufficient supplies are
required to meet:
– Essential hygiene and
– Domestic
• Other concerns = sugarloaf pipeline
• Ballarat and Bendigo receive water piped from the
• To maintain high productivity must be more
• ~ 850 Gl of water lost annually through:
inaccurate metering of water and
This is nearly 9 sugarloaf’s capacity
Out-dated infrastructure
Northern Victoria Irrigation Renewal
• was established in 2008 to deliver major
changes to water delivery and improve
• Measures include:
– More efficient flows to farms via
– Automated channel control system
– Repairing leaks and lining some channels
– Reducing overflows
• By 2012 it was estimated that 225 GL of water
will be saved
• 2.3 surgarloaf’s

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