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Western Irrigation Network

Western Water is developing plans for the Western Irrigation Network (WIN).

It’s a new, major recycled water irrigation scheme for farmers in the Parwan Balliang region.

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).

Next steps

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.

More information

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

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