Sunraysia Water Efficiency Project (SWEP)

Creating a more efficient water delivery network across the Mildura, Red Cliffs and Merbein irrigation districts.

time In progress

Lower Murray Water (LMW) is delivering the Sunraysia Water Efficiency Project (SWEP), a modernisation project that will modernise and remove outdated water infrastructure in the Mildura, Red Cliffs, and Merbein irrigation districts.

Funded by the Australian Government, these works will improve the condition of the channel and increase the efficiency of water delivery.

Project benefits

The Project will provide many benefits to the Sunraysia region, including:

  • Further modernisation and rationalisation of assets in the Mildura, Red Cliffs, and Merbein irrigation districts, benefiting local growers.
  • Helping the Sunraysia district maintain its competitive advantage in the agri-food sector with more efficiency in its water delivery systems.
  • Bringing forward essential maintenance and upgrade works to maintain water supply and reduce interruptions, offsetting works that otherwise would have been funded through LMW rural customer charges.
  • Supporting more than 100 construction and delivery jobs for the region.
  • Generating an estimated regional GDP increase of more than $20 million.
  • Reducing the amount of salinity in the River Murray and surrounding topsoil caused by leaking channels.

This project will generate 1.8 GL of water savings by:

  • minimising channel leakage and seepage
  • more accurately measuring water used.

Any additional savings will be shared equally between delivering water for Traditional Owners and improving urban water security in the region.

About the project

The SWEP builds on the success of the Sunraysia Modernisation Project and Sunraysia Modernisation Project 2 and aims to create a more efficient water delivery network across the Mildura, Red Cliffs and Merbein irrigation districts.

These works will increase the efficiency of water delivery for Lower Murray Water customers, remove redundant assets, extend the lifespan of irrigation infrastructure, and support the agricultural productivity of the region. For an overview of the project, see SWEP fact sheet.

Most of the works will be constructed during the winter months when the irrigation demands are low. There is a significant amount of work to be undertaken in winter 2024. During this time, the channels throughout the Mildura irrigation district will be shutdown for extended periods to allow the works to occur.

To best understand customer needs this winter and inform planned shutdowns to complete this work, LMW initiated a communication and engagement campaign across February and March 2024. The details of these activities, the outcomes, and the final winter shutdown plan are captured in this summary.

A key part of these works includes removing the irrigation channel adjacent to the Nichols Point Primary School and Nichols Point Recreation Reserve and replacing it with a buried pipeline, improving community safety and opening the space.

Channel and pipeline works will commence from April 2024.

We will keep community and landowners informed through the planning and construction of the works.

Project updates

Despite sometimes soggy conditions in recent months, the SWEP Winter Works 2023 package has now been completed in full. These works will improve the condition of the channel and increase the efficiency of water delivery, at no cost to growers.

In 2023, the Project delivered more than 4 km of channel lining in the Red Cliffs and Mildura districts and removed almost 100 old Dethridge wheels from the system.

All channel works were completed within the shutdown period and impacts on customers were minimised.

The SWEP team is now focusing on the 2024 winter shutdown. See the winter schedule dates.

In 2024, the Project will deliver:

  • 1.1 km of open channel near the Nichols Point Primary School will be replaced by a buried pipeline.
  • 19.8 km of channels in the Mildura and Merbein districts will be lined.
  • More than 150 Dethridge wheels will be removed or upgraded throughout the Merbein and Red Cliffs districts.
  • Inaccurate Domestic and Stock (D&S) flowmeters will be replaced.

Check out our time-lapse for a glimpse of the process.

For more information, take a look at our recent Project Updates here:

How to find out more

For any further questions, or to sign up for project updates, please email or phone 1800 808 830 and ask to speak to the SWEP team.