Joint media release: Landmark investment to modernise water infrastructure in Victoria’s largest irrigation network

4 March 2021

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, the Hon Keith Pitt MP
Acting Victorian Water Minister, Richard Wynne


The Goulburn Murray Water (GMW) Water Efficiency Project will receive $177.5 million in Commonwealth funding to modernise and upgrade ageing off-farm water infrastructure in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District while creating hundreds of jobs.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, and acting Victorian Water Minister, Richard Wynne, said it was a landmark investment in recovering water through off-farm efficiency and infrastructure projects, preventing the need for water buybacks.  

Minister Pitt said it demonstrated the Commonwealth’s steadfast commitment to off-farm water recovery.

“I am pleased to announce this off-farm funding that will modernise and make Victoria’s largest irrigation system more efficient, generating significant water savings without damaging regional economies,” Minister Pitt said.

“This is an investment in practical infrastructure upgrades across the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District which accounts for more than 70% of all water stored in Victoria and around 90% of water used for irrigation purposes across that State. 

“I acknowledge the work of the Victorian Government, especially my colleague Water Minister Lisa Neville, for getting on with the GMW Water Efficiency Project and making sure it is a case-study in thorough community consultation.

“Socio-economic considerations have been, and will continue to be front of mind, for Victoria as they work to make sure local communities and businesses benefit,” Minister Pitt said.

Minister Wynne said the project meant local jobs for local communities.

“The GMW Water Efficiency Project will provide significant economic stimulus for local and regional communities by creating hundreds of fulltime jobs during the construction phase while delivering significant environmental outcomes,” Minister Wynne said. 

“The Victorian Government, through our delivery agency Goulburn-Murray Water, will deliver the GMW Water Efficiency Project generating 15.9 GL of environmental water savings by modernising or decommissioning more than 250 km of channels and upgrading more than 1,000 outlets by 2023.”

“We’ve already recovered around 826 GL for the environment and we’re ready to start delivering through the GMW Water Efficiency Project as soon as possible.”