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The $62.6 million Macalister Irrigation District Modernisation (MID) Phase 2 project will largely see the completion of most of the modernisation works outlined in the 2007 MID2030 Strategy. This was 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 through the National Water Grid Fund ($31.3 million) and the remainder by Southern Rural Water and its customers ($20.9 million).

Macalister Irrigation District (MID) Phase 2

The MID Phase 2 Project will modernise infrastructure that is up to 100 years old and presents a major constraint to water supply and contemporary farming practices. The project will replace open channel systems with modernised pipelines and upgrade and automate outlets, providing increased climate and drought resilience through the generation of water savings and by building on the benefits from the completed MID Phase 1A and Phase 1B projects. Phase 2 comprises several sub-projects, including modernisation works in Newry, Boisdale and Stratford. The project commenced in 2020 and will reach practical completion in 2024.

Expected benefits of the modernisation 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.

Our Rural Water Projects team has a governance and 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 is delivering the project, including management of on-ground construction.

Environmental contribution 5 (EC5)

Program title 2020–21 expenditure ($'000) 2021–22
expenditure ($'000)
2022–23 expenditure ($'000)

Macalister Irrigation District (MID) Modernisation Project - Phase 2

10,680 2500

Total EC5 funding for the MID Phase 2 Project includes $10.43 million for capital project works and $0.5 million for governance and administration over the life of the project. All of these funds were spent in the 2020–21 and 2021–22 financial years.

Summary of progress to date

The project has completed approximately 40km of channel modernisation across the Stratford, Main Northern and Boisdale Supply Systems.

Significant progress has been made on channel modernisation works in the Newry Supply System, with 40km of works to be complete in late 2023.

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 is working through its Macalister Customer Consultative Committee on the delivery of the project.

Find more information about the project from Southern Rural Water.

Page last updated: 15/11/23