Why are the water savings being audited?

All water savings from major irrigation modernisation projects in Victoria, including the GMW Connections Project, must be calculated and audited in accordance with the 'Water Savings Protocol for Irrigation Modernisation Projects' (Water Savings Protocol).

The Water Savings Protocol contains a technical manual on how to estimate, calculate and allocate water savings. It also sets out roles and responsibilities and the audit process.

The audit process requires an independent auditor to verify that the water savings estimates have been calculated consistent with the calculations methods described in the Protocol. The audit process provides confidence that the water savings are being calculated correctly.

Who are the Auditors, how were they selected and are they independent?

The Victorian Government has appointed two firms, Cardno (Qld) Pty Ltd and Arup Pty Ltd to a panel of independent water saving auditors.

The panel selection was based on an open tender process and chaired by Mr Paul Baxter, a member of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority Independent Audit Group. Mr Baxter is Senior Commissioner of the ACT's Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission. An important requirement of selection to the panel was that firms have had no prior engagement related to the Victorian irrigation modernisation works.

How many audits have been undertaken and where can the results be found?

At the end of each irrigation season an independent audit is undertaken of water savings achieved by GMW Connections Project and other modernistation projects as required. The results of all these audits are then published on this website.

What was audited and how were the audits undertaken?

In accordance with the Water Savings Protocol, the auditors confirm the actual water savings estimates that have been achieved from the GMW Connections Project and other modernisation projects as required at the end of an irrigation season. Long-term average water savings are also estimated for the same years.

The auditor confirms the water savings by:

  • Checking that the actual and long-term water savings were calculated consistent with the calculation method in the Water Savings Protocol, namely in the Technical manual for the quantification of water savings
  • Checking that the data collection and inputs are as accurate as could reasonably be expected for the purpose of calculating water savings;
  • Conducting spot checks to confirm that the program of modernisation works has been implemented as documented in the water saving calculations;
  • Checking that water savings have been calculated based on the nature and the extent of all modernisation works completed up to and including a given irrigation season;
  • Providing a corrected estimate of the water savings for any component where the project proponent calculations are found to be non-compliant or deficient; and
  • Identifying potential improvements to the data collection, data analysis, assumptions and methods used to estimate the water savings.

Technical manual (PDF, 2.1 MB)

What did they find?

The findings from the GMW Connections Project audit for each irrigation season are posted on this website with a summary provide for the latest audit. This will continue until the end of the GMW Connections Project in 2019.

Why are there two water savings numbers, actual and long term?

The actual water savings generated in a year depends on how much water is delivered in that year and what modernisation works have been completed.

Long-term annual average water savings are an estimate of the average annual water savings that would have been achieved from the modernisation works over the last 115 years.

The GMW Connections Project water savings targets (Stage 1 of 225,000 megalitres and Stage 2 of 204,000 megalitres) are expressed as a long-term average. Estimating the long-term average water savings demonstrates how the Connections Project is progressing towards this long-term water savings target.