Murrumbidgee Irrigation plans for expansion

WHILE Murrumbidgee Irrigation is scaling back its presence in Leeton, the company has said it is canvassing opportunities for further expansion across the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.

With works to expand the Northern Branch Canal (NBC) nearing completion, MI chief executive officer Brett Jones those efforts were complementing the government’s modernisation program. 

The expansion will allow new control structures to be utilised to their full extent – effectively doubling the canal’s delivery capacity.

It comes as MI last week confirmed it had plans to move some of its Leeton staff out of town. 

However, the company has stated it won’t be closing its Leeton office when addressing rumours stating this was the case. 

“Our region is thriving, and in line with this the needs of our customers are changing,” Mr Jones said.

“We are changing to meet those needs and to keep this the premier irrigation district in Australia.

“Expanding the capacity of the NBC will allow us to deliver more water and higher flow rates to better meet the needs of customers’ farming operations.”

With modernisation projects to commence soon in the Sturt Canal, Benerembah Channel, Wah Wah, Warburn and Tabbita systems, the announcement of a further $38 million was a welcome bonus.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, announced recently MI would receive a further $38 million to implement additional works under round three of the federal government’s Private Irrigation Infrastructure Operators Program (PIlOP3) in NSW. 

This represents a total investment of over $347 million by the government in critical water saving projects in the MIA. 

Mr Jones said the additional funding would allow MI to continue to improve the efficiency of its water delivery system.

“Our customers want value, and this funding will enable us to deliver this to them through a more efficient and responsive irrigation network,” he said.

The government funded works include the modernisation of control structures and some channel restoration within the systems’ existing delivery capacity. 

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