Pipeline project targets reliable water supply in rural Victoria
Published on 25 January 2023
A major pipeline designed to provide water security for farms and small communities across parts of the Central Goldfields, Northern Grampians and Pyrenees Shires is the subject of a feasibility study launched last week in Beaufort.
The proposed Southern Wimmera and Northeast Pyrenees Water Supply is a major infrastructure project designed to consolidate water supply across almost 300,000 hectares spanning parts of the Central Goldfields, Northern Grampians and Pyrenees Shires.
The project was initiated by the Natte Yallock Landcare Group, who met with local councils and GWM Water in 2019 to discuss the challenges of prolonged dry seasons and the impact of climate change.
These discussions highlighted the need for a highly efficient, fit-for-purpose water infrastructure system in the region. In October 2022 a $300,000 grant was announced under Victorian Government’s Investment Fast Track Fund stream to support a feasibility study and help get the project investment ready.
A steering committee meeting attended by multiple agencies was held in Beaufort on Wednesday 18 January to get the study underway.
Pyrenees Shire Council is leading the project and has engaged Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water to deliver the study with support from Central Highlands Water, Central Goldfields and Northern Grampians Shire Councils.
Matching funds of $75,000 in cash and $70,000 in-kind have been committed by project partners.
Should it progress to a successful business case and eventually secure funding, Pyrenees Shire Council CEO Jim Nolan expects a range of long-term benefits to flow from the project.
“This is a significant project that could deliver many economic and community benefits for the region,” said Mr Nolan. “Delivering water to towns that do not currently have a sustainable supply, productivity improvements for the livestock, grains and wine sectors, better environmental flows in rivers and streams, and driving new investment and jobs in the region are just some of the potential outcomes.”
Councils will be working with GWM Water and their consultant, and will shortly be issuing letters to landholders to gauge whether there is sufficient demand for the project, as well as assist with the technical detail and concept design for the proposed pipeline routes.
We will also be engaging with tourism operators, community groups and other stakeholders in coming months as part of the feasibility study.
Photo caption: Representatives from GWM Water, Pyrenees, Northern Grampians and Central Goldfields Shire Councils, the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA), the Victorian Farmers Federation, and Wimmera Catchment Management Authority met in Beaufort on Wednesday 18 January to launch the Southern Wimmera and Northeast Pyrenees Water Supply feasibility study.
The steering committee also includes the Dja Dja Wurrung and Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporations, Barengi Gadjin Land Council, and North Central Catchment Management Authority.