The Western Irrigation Network (WIN) has been successful in securing $48 million in co-funding from the Commonwealth’s National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.
Western Water acknowledges the critical role the Victorian Government has played in helping to secure this co-funding.
Western Water and private agribusinesses will fund the remainder of the project costs which are estimated at more than $60 million.
What is the current status of WIN?
WIN has entered design approval phase with early construction packages tendered to the market and construction of initial infrastructure elements underway.
Over the remainder of this year, Western Water will finalise the scheme’s design and seek the necessary approvals for WIN to proceed.
At the same time, the farmers will develop detailed farm plans to outline how they will use recycled water on their properties over the coming years.
The final WIN scheme design proposal will be submitted to Western Water’s Board in late 2020.
Subject to final approval, WIN is forecast to be delivered in mid-2022, initially supplying around 1,700 million litres of recycled water per year and increasing up to 4,200 million litres per year by 2025.
The scheme’s design allows for increasing volumes as irrigators expand production and are able to utilise the growth in recycled water volumes produced.
Why is WIN required?
The Melton region will be the fastest growing urban development area in Melbourne over the coming decade. With the growth in customers, we will also receive significant increases in the volumes of sewage treated, and the resulting recycled water generated.
To date, we have managed recycled water volumes through:
- reuse by agricultural, industrial and residential customers
- reuse at farms on Western Water land, and/or
- disposal of excess recycled water to Werribee River at the Melton Recycled Water Plant, in accordance with our licence from Environment Protection Authority Victoria.
In future, these solutions will not be sufficient to manage the extra recycled water that will be generated. Existing customers have little capacity to take on additional recycled water, and the same is true for our farms. Further, by June 2022, Western Water will no longer be permitted to discharge excess recycled water to Werribee River.
As a result, Western Water needed to identify new sources of demand for recycled water by 2022.
WIN project development
Western Water began developing the proposal for WIN several years ago. Since then, we have worked closely with local farmers and other stakeholders.
The irrigation network began as one of several options to address how we manage excess recycled water supplies for the region.
WIN has progressed as the most viable solution from initial discussions and scoping documents, through a feasibility study in 2017, to a detailed business case developed over the past year in close discussion with local farmers.
Benefits of WIN
Of all the options considered, WIN provides the most benefits because it:
- delivers a new, secure source of water for agriculture in Melbourne’s west,
- protects local waterways for future generations, and
- ·offers the best value for Western Water’s existing customers.
WIN has potential to deliver up to 19,000 million litres of recycled water to farmland in the Parwan-Balliang region for livestock grazing and broadacre crops (e.g. wheat, barley and canola).
Western Water is focussed on ensuring WIN becomes a reality. Capital works are already underway to support the project. These include an interconnector pipeline between Melton and Bacchus Marsh recycled water plants, and a new pump station and recycled water storage tank at Melton.
Subject to acceptance of detailed farm plans, achieving the necessary regulatory approvals and financing, and final Board approval, Class C recycled water supplies may be available to farmers in the Parwan-Balliang region by July 2022.
For more information on the Western Irrigation Network, contact Project Manager, Warren Price at WIN@westernwater.com.au or 0439 560 946.
WIN Factsheet - March 2020165KB