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The biannual Rural Water Awards were again held in 2016. The Awards are designed to recognise and reward Victorian rural water licence holders who are doing great things with water. 

Awards were available in four categories: for irrigation district water users (drawing water from a rural supply system such as channels or pipelines), groundwater users (bores), surface water users (diverting water from a waterway or dam) and community and education groups that draw water from any of the above water sources. 

Regional winners received $500, state-wide winners received $2,000 with runners-up receiving $500, presented at the Gala Award event in Melbourne on 2nd December 2016. 

The Awards will next be held in 2018.  For further information on the Awards, please contact our office and speak to our Manager Communications & Engagement, Leesa Merrett on (03) 50513400.

2016 Rural Water Awards – State Winners 

Surface Water Category - Minter Magic 

Minter Magic produces asparagus, almonds and 12 varieties of citrus. Following years of research and an initial trial in 2015, drainage water was diverted to a storage dam and used for irrigation. The project objective was to reduce irrigation water requirement through utilising drainage water, assisting to ‘drought proof’ the property. Works done included clearing land and the establishment of a 2.5ML storage dam, re-routing of drainage lines, re-routing of irrigation lines, including adjustments to sprinklers where required and the establishment of a pump and required connections. Return on the project seen to date include a tangible cost saving, trace element gained from the drainage water, reduced power costs and the benefit of reduced salinity impact on the Murray River. 

2016 Rural Water Awards – Lower Murray Water’s Regional Winners 

Community and Education Category – Robinvale College 

Robinvale College is focussed on looking after and appreciating the environment by living healthy lives. They reuse what they can, recycle what they can. For many years now Robinvale College has incorporated an environmental awareness program as an integral part of their curriculum. They want their students and families to hold a strong environmental conscience and to truly live a lifestyle that reflects this. They recognise the importance of being able to conserve and become self-reliant with their rural water to assist their region to continue to grow and be sustainable. As part of the project Robinvale College changed irrigation practices in the Environmental area from sprays to drippers and installed four rain water tanks. This has enabled the College to continue to increase the learning opportunities available from their Environmental Area. The garden has now evolved into a “Community Garden”. We encourage the local community to get involved with the care of the garden and poultry, in return they are able to enjoy the produce. 

Irrigation District Water Users Category – Budou Farms 

Budou Farms have 9.5Ha of table grapes at Merbein South. They invested in technology that would change the method of irrigation. The implementation of this new technology—probe with electrical conductivity (EC), temperature and soil moisture ‘real-time’ measuring capabilities assists in the decision of when and how much to water, and when to apply fertigation. This results in more cost effective and accurate irrigation and vineyard management techniques.  Initial testing of the system required digging around vine roots to check growth in relation to the irrigation pattern. The initial cost of the first unit was approximately $2,500 plus ongoing costs of approximately $380 annually. Benefits already seen include savings in water between 7-10%, better management of nutrients, no leeching of nitrates—better yields and better quality. In addition international buyers can be provided with best practice and quality assurance evidence.



Further Information

Case Study - Community & Education

Case Study - Budou Farms

Case Study - Minters Magic

Photos from our state and regional winners:

Minter Magic - pump

Minter Magic - asparagus picking

Robinvale College - garden beds (above) and poultry (below) in the environmental area

Budou Farms - telemetry equipment

Budou Farms - soil probe (exposed for photograph)
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The management and staff at Lower Murray Water proudly acknowledges the traditional owners; the Barapa Barapa Peoples, the Wamba Wamba Peoples, the Wadi Wadi Peoples, the Tatti Tatti Peoples, the Latji Latji Peoples, the Nyeri Nyeri Peoples and the Werigia Peoples and respect their connection to both their land and waterways.
The land and water are to be respected and nurtured, to be in keeping with these First Nations Peoples….