The federal government says it'll provide more than $175 million in funding for a project aimed at modernising and upgrading ageing off-farm water infrastructure in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District.
Federal Water Minister Keith Pitt, and acting Victorian Water Minister, Richard Wynne, said the $177.5 million Goulburn-Murray Water Efficiency Project would further recover water through off-farm efficiency and infrastructure projects.
Mr Pitt said it would preven the need for more water buybacks.
"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," Mr Pitt said.
"This is an investment in practical infrastructure upgrades across the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District which accounts for more than 70per cent of all water stored in Victoria and around 90pc of water used for irrigation purposes across that State."
Irrigators have raised concerns about the plan.
It also follows the federal government announcement the WEP would be scrapped, as it was deemed to be ineffective.
"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," Mr Pitt said.
Mr 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," Mr Wynne said.
"The Victorian government will deliver the GMW Water Efficiency Project generating 15.9 gigalitres 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."
The proposal includes two projects:
- The Backbone Transformation Project which will rationalise and modernise channels and meters throughout the GMID;
- Shepparton East Project which will modernise infrastructure in the Shepparton irrigation area.
GMW said it was well positioned to deliver the works, by leveraging the processes and systems developed for Connections.