The $62.6 million Macalister Irrigation District (MID) Phase 2 project will see the completion of modernisation works envisaged through the 2007 MID2030 Strategy developed by Southern Rural Water in consultation with its customers.

Jointly funded project

The project is jointly funded by the State of Victoria ($10.43 million), the Australian Government ($31.3 million) and the remainder by Southern Rural Water and its customers. The Australian Government contribution was secured in September 2020 through the variation to the bilateral schedule for the National Partnership Agreement for the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund – Capital Component.

Macalister Irrigation District (MID) Phase 2

MID Phase 2 is targeting infrastructure that is 60 to 100 years old and presents a major constraint to water supply and contemporary farming practices. The project will provide climate and drought resilience through generating water savings and builds on the benefits from the completed MID Phase 1A and Phase 1B projects. Phase 2 comprises several sub-projects, including supplies to Newry, Stratford, Nuntin networks and outlet upgrades across the MID.

Expected benefits include that the upgraded network will:

  • Increase Gippsland’s food and fibre outputs, improving the regional economy.
  • Optimise water supply efficiency.
  • Unlock on-farm investment in irrigation and grow farm productivity.
  • Improve wellbeing for farming families and their staff.
  • Improve environmental outcomes by reducing nutrient discharges to local waterways and the Gippsland Lakes.
  • Boost jobs, both during construction and ongoing as rural businesses expand.

The department's Rural Water Projects team has a governance oversight role in the delivery of the project, including the management of the contract with Southern Rural Water and the bilateral project schedule with the Australian Government.

The department also chairs the quarterly Project Oversight Group and provides State oversight of the progress of the project against its milestones.

Southern Rural Water are delivering the project, including management of on-ground construction.

Environmental contribution 5 (EC5)

Program title 2020-21 expenditure ($'000) 2021–22
expenditure ($'000)

Macalister Irrigation District (MID) Modernisation Project - Phase 2


Summary of progress to date

MID Phase 2

The MID Phase 2 project commenced in 2020 and is expected to be completed in 2024.

MID Phase 2 is a program of works consisting of

  • piping the Newry subsystem
  • completing a modernisation of remaining channel sub-systems through a combination of piping and automation
  • undertaking channel, outlet and associated asset rationalisation and modernisation
  • upgrading high-use water outlets to modern, compliant outlets.

Achieved first 4 milestones

The project has achieved its first four milestones, including completing approximately 30 km of channel modernisation in the Stratford and Main Northern supply channel systems.

These modernisation works include

  • the replacement of manual regulators with automated flume gate regulators
  • vegetation and regrowth trimming or removal, allowing for improved channel performance, channel desilting
  • commissioning for automated water delivery to customers.

Engagement with customers

The project has undertaken detailed engagement with customers to understand their on-farm planning and irrigation needs. This includes partnering with the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority to deliver the Newry Farm Planning Project which will enable customers to get the best on-farm efficiencies from a modernised supply.

This has helped to inform optimal design outcomes for modernisation, which will be combinations of the pipeline, channel automation, regulator and outlet upgrades and rationalisation.

Southern Rural Water also continues to work through its Macalister Customer Consultative Committee on the delivery of the project.

Environmental and cultural heritage surveys

Other key activities that have been progressed include the completion of environmental and cultural heritage surveys and required planning approvals processes.

The procurement process for the largest project component, the piping of the Newry supply channel, has also been completed. These works are expected to be delivered in 2023.

Page last updated: 08/09/23