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Have your say on the future of Drainage Management

Image of a drain running alongside a fence separating two paddocks.
7 Sep 2021

Changes to climate and water availability have prompted a re-think of drainage management across the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID).

The draft GMID Drainage Management Strategy has been developed to provide a clear direction for the future management of irrigation drainage.

One of the driving forces behind the new approach, the Goulburn Broken CMA’s Carl Walters, said fresh ideas would be key to the success of the strategy.

“It’s time to take a good, hard look at drainage management and we have been working with Goulburn Murray Water and North Central CMA on this proposed approach,” Mr Walters said.

“In the past, drainage was mostly about managing salinity and watertable threats to improve irrigated productivity but things are quite different now.”

He said while drainage still provided important benefits for irrigated agriculture, climate change meant those benefits were now more evenly shared between agriculture, the environment and the broader community.

“Drainage systems need to be managed in more environmentally and culturally sensitive ways. Costs and service requirements need to be much simpler too.

“The proposed approach will involve lower up-front and on-going costs, compared to the traditional approach to drainage management.”

Mr Walters said the draft strategy aimed to provide clear directions for the future management of drainage in the GMID.

“The strategy is being developed using resilience principles, which encourage more flexible, adaptive and integrated approaches to future surface and subsurface drainage service delivery across the region.

“This approach will continue to support viable agriculture and vibrant communities while enhancing environmental and cultural values in the GMID.”

He said this draft strategy presented an opportunity for farmers and community members to have a hand in shaping the future management of the system.

“That’s why we want to know what the public thinks about the draft strategy, what is missing and which of the strategy’s proposals people think are most important.”

For more information visit www.engagevic.com.au before 24 October 2021.

The strategy is being developed by Goulburn Murray Water, North Central CMA, Goulburn Broken CMA, and Agriculture Victoria, through funding from DELWP’s Sustainable Irrigation Program.

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