Each year the water recovered under the GMW Connections Project is independently audited to ensure the savings are being estimated correctly in line with the Water savings protocol. This page provides the outcomes from the 2017/2018 audits of modernisation and purchases in Northern Victoria.
The GMW Connections Project Stage 1 and Stage 2 is modernising the water delivery systems in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District to achieve 429 gigalitres of long-term annual average water recovery. The contracted water recovery from Stage 1 is to be distributed equitably between the irrigators, Melbourne retailers and the environment. The contracted water recovery for Stage 2 is being issued to the Commonwealth as part of Victoria's Murray-Darling Basin Plan water recovery targets. For more information about the GMW Connections Project see https://www.water.vic.gov.au/water-for-agriculture/investment-in-irrigation-efficiency.
Summary of GMW Connections Project water recovery
The cumulative long-term annual average water recovery for the GMW Connections Project Stages 1 and 2 to June 2018 is 333,797.9 megalitres (ML) per year. The project and water recovery elements are as follows:
GMW CONNECTIONS PROJECT WATER RECOVERY ELEMENT
LONG-TERM ANNUAL AVERAGE WATER RECOVERY (ML)
Modernisation works water savings
Low-reliability water share purchases
High-reliability water shares purchases*
Campaspe Irrigation District closure water savings**
East Loddon stock and domestic water supply system**
Swan Hill Modernisation Project***
Estimated savings from other projects****
TOTAL WATER RECOVERY
* Includes water shares recovered through GMW Connections Stage 1, On-Farm Efficiency Program and closure of the Campaspe Irrigation District.
** The closure of the Campaspe Irrigation District and the modernisation of the East Loddon stock and domestic water supply system were not audited in the 2017-18 GMW Connections Audit. However, they are part of the GMW Connections Project. The water savings for these projects have been estimated using water resource system modelling and were audited through a separate process.
*** Swan Hill Modernisation Project includes water savings associated with decommissioning Little Murray Weir (13,500 ML), evaporation savings from the lowering Little Murray Weir Pool (486 ML) and reduced losses on the No. 9 Channel (226 ML), these water savings will be formalised with the next amendment to the Bulk Entitlement (River Murray – Goulburn-Murray Water) 1999. These water savings have been estimated using water resource system modelling and were audited through a separate process.
**** Water savings from special projects are assessed and updated through the year. The estimated savings are subject to verification at the end of the project.
2017-18 Independent Audit of Water Recovery
The tenth independent audit of water recovery for Northern Victorian irrigation modernisation projects for the 2017-18 water year was undertaken between October and December 2018.
The audit covers irrigation modernisation works and water savings for the Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) Connections Project Stages 1 and 2, water entitlement purchases for the GMW Connections Project Stage 1 and Reconfiguration Project.
Residual savings from the Shepparton Irrigation Area Modernisation Project (SIAMP) and the Central Goulburn 1234 Project (CG1234) were also audited this year. These savings do not contribute to the GMW Connections Project water recovery targets, as they contribute to savings under CG1234 and SIAMP, the projects that completed the works.
To streamline the audit process, this year's audit of water entitlement purchases and water savings were completed separately. Both audits were carried out by an independent auditor (Cardno (Qld) Pty Ltd).
The audit confirmed that estimated water savings were accurate and in line with the Water savings protocol and verified water purchases.
Summary of audit findings
The following table summarises the water savings achieved through irrigation modernisation works for the GMW Connections Project Stages 1 and 2 and the residual savings from CG1234 and SIAMP, verified in the 2017-18 audit.
Water savings (ML)
Long-term Annual average
GMW Connections Stage 1
GMW Connections Stage 2
Total - GMW Connections Stages 1 and 2
SIAMP & CG1234*
* Water savings under SIAMP and the CG1234 Project do not contribute to the GMW Connections Project water recovery totals as they are residual savings made under other projects.
The GMW Connections Project Stage 1 has recovered 5,680.6 ML of low-reliability water shares (equivalent to a long-term average of 3,526 ML) and 29,528 ML of high-reliability water shares (equivalent to a long‑term average of 27,763.7 ML).
The Reconfiguration Project has recovered an additional 640.0 ML of high‑reliability water shares with a long-term average of 585 ML.
The auditor reviewed and accepted the volume of entitlement purchases outlined in the table below:
Volume of low reliability water shares purchased (ML)
Long-term annual average from low reliability water shares (ML)
Volume of high reliability water shares purchased (ML)
Long-term annual average from high reliability water shares (ML)
GMW Connections Stage 1
Campaspe Irrigation District*
On-Farm Efficiency Program
Total Water Purchases – GMW Connections Stage 1
* Water shares recovered through the closure of the Campaspe Irrigation District were confirmed in the 2012-13 audit.
** Purchases made under the Reconfiguration Project do not contribute to the GMW Connections Project Water Recovery totals as they are residual purchases made under the Reconfiguration Project.
The auditor made a number of comments and recommendations regarding systems and processes, the most important of these are:
- GMW has accurately calculated water recovery in line with the Water savings protocol (PDF, 2.4 MB).
- GMW data collection processes continue to be sufficiently robust and inputs are as accurate as could reasonably be expected for the purpose of calculating water recovery.
- There were no recommendations proposed in the audit of water entitlement purchases, but a note was made clarifying which entitlement information should be provided for the audit. Details of this note can be found in the audit report (PDF, 613.9 KB).
- One recommendation around tracking works for water recovery calculations was made in the audit of irrigation modernisation water recovery. Details of this recommendation can be found in the audit report (PDF, 3.6 MB). GMW Connections Project advised that during finalisation of the audit report that it had commenced addressing this recommendation.
- The audits did not identify any need to change the Water savings protocol.
Page last updated: 08/03/19