Tambo River Auction – Irrigation Development Guidelines ensure best practice irrigation

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In late 2022, winter-fill irrigation water was auctioned by Southern Rural Water (SRW) to landholders along the Tambo River. Each property that bought water triggered the requirement for irrigation development guidelines (IDGs).

As part of the IDG process SRW, the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA) and Agriculture Victoria worked closely together to ensure that new irrigation developments did not negatively impact the environment or neighbouring properties.

Google Earth image of the Tambo River and surrounding area

Google Earth image of the Tambo River and surrounding area.

In January 2023, representatives from SRW, WGCMA and Agriculture Victoria visited 7 landholders to assess each business’s irrigation plans and discuss their aspirations.

The irrigation knowledge and experience of the landholders varied, with some already having irrigation on their properties and some never having irrigated before. The farm visits facilitated discussions on how and where the water would be sourced from the river and how it would be applied on farm.

The selection of a suitable irrigation system was crucial to ensure irrigation didn’t cause any negative impacts, and that the development was planned in the most effective and efficient manner for the business.

Further extension support was offered to landholders that required ongoing assistance.

Agriculture Victoria irrigation staff visited one landowner a year after the initial site visits, to provide additional extension support on the selection of an appropriate irrigation system.

The irrigation extension officers were able to talk through all the possible options, and then design an irrigation system that was economically viable, had no environmental impacts, and complemented the existing farm operations.

The WGCMA and Agriculture Victoria will continue to provide extension support to irrigators along the Tambo River to ensure irrigation is both environmentally responsible, and water and resource efficient.

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