Irrigation modernisation is ramping up into high gear and there are some serious choices to be made.
Irrigators must soon decide how they will be connected to the backbone as Goulburn-Murray Water works on reducing channel length by thousands of kilometres.
While the first stage of modernisation has reconfigured many irrigation channels and outlets, those farmers who haven’t reached agreements will be required to negotiate with G-MW within the next 18 months.
G-MW connections manager George Warne said connecting agricultural businesses to the backbone was a priority.
Small stock and domestic supply customers around northern Victorian towns and cities will also have to work out how their supply can be delivered. G-MW is planning to reduce the 6300 km of channels to 3500 km.
More than 500 agreements have already been reached under the former NVIRP project. Now G-MWhas set itself the target of consulting with customers on about 6000 properties.
While some negotiations were abandoned when agreements couldn’t be reached, G-MW now has a target of concluding preliminary negotiations in 180 small groups by June 2014. And this time it is carrying a big stick.
Under the Water Act approved by Water Minister Peter Walsh, when negotiations are exhausted and no agreement likely, G-MW can compulsorily reconfigure supply.
■ See the full story and farmers’ responses in Water Talk today.