The Western Irrigation Network has been approved for construction.
The Western Irrigation Network has been approved for construction following signing of a funding agreement by the Victorian Minister for Water, the Hon Lisa Neville MP and Western Water’s Board, to secure $48 million in funding from the Australian Government under the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.
The Western Irrigation Network (WIN) is a major new recycled water irrigation scheme for the Parwan-Balliang agricultural district to the west of Melbourne.
WIN will deliver a wide range of benefits for the whole community including:
- a new, secure source of water for agriculture in Melbourne’s west,
- protecting local waterways for future generations, and
- offering the best value solution to manage recycled water volumes for Western Water’s customers.
- WIN is jointly funded through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.
What is WIN?
The Western Irrigation Network (WIN) is a $116 million project jointly funded by the Australian Government, Western Water and the private agribusinesses who will become the network’s foundation customers.
The network will connect dryland farmers in the Parwan-Balliang area, near Bacchus Marsh, with a guaranteed supply of Class C recycled water suitable for irrigation farming in 2022.
The scheme will initially supply around 1700 million litres of recycled water per year but volumes supplied will increase as irrigators adapt and expand production. By 2050, WIN could deliver up to 19,000 million litres of recycled water to farmers each year.
WIN is a major solution to help Western Water manage the increasing volumes of recycled water being produced by the growing population in our service region – particularly in the Melton, Sunbury and Bacchus Marsh areas.
At the same time, WIN has potential to transform farms currently dependent on unreliable rainfall by connecting them to a year-round guaranteed water supply.
Hear about the benefits of WIN for Western Water and local farmers
Western Irrigation Network works
- an interconnector pipeline between Melton and Bacchus Marsh recycled water plants
- a new recycled water pump station at Melton Recycled Water Plant
- a new 1.1 gigalitre recycled water storage at Melton Recycled Water Plant
Works planned for 2021-2022:
- pipeline to connect recycled water to the Parwan-Balliang farmers
- additional pump stations at Bacchus Marsh and Parwan-Balliang
Works planned for 2023-2025:
- new 1.0 gigalitre recycled water storage in Parwan-Balliang
- interconnector pipeline between Sunbury and Melton recycled water plants
- additional pump station at Sunbury
- See the Frequently Asked Questions (below)
- FACTSHEET 1: WIN FEASIBILITY STUDY(883KB)
- FACTSHEET 2: WIN DETAILED PLANNING PHASE(236KB)
- FACTSHEET 3: WIN DEVELOPMENT PHASE(161KB)
- FACTSHEET 4: WIN DESIGN APPROVAL PHASE(165KB)
- email WIN@westernwater.com.au
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does recycled water come from?
Recycled water is wastewater that has been collected and treated so that it can be used again for a variety of non-drinking purposes.
Western Water produces Class C recycled water at its Melton and Bacchus Marsh recycled water plants, and Class B recycled water at its Sunbury plant. Read about how recycled water is treated.
What will the recycled water be used for?
The different classes of recycled water are approved by Environment Protection Authority Victoria for a range of uses. Class C can be used to irrigate pastures for livestock grazing and broadacre crops like wheat, barley and canola.
See the EPA’s guidelines for recycled water.
How will recycled water irrigation impact soil and groundwater?
Any risks associated with using recycled water must be minimised to acceptable levels before recycled water is approved for use by the EPA.
Western Water’s focus in developing the Western Irrigation Network was to ensure the recycled water produced was suitable for agricultural use.
To ensure recycled water is used safely, each recycled water customer must develop a site management plan with Western Water in accordance with requirements set by the Environment Protection Authority. These plans will ensure farmers protect soils and groundwater through their recycled water irrigation practises.
Will recycled water irrigation result in water logging?
No. Each WIN farmer has developed detailed farm plans to provide insights into soil water holding capacities, crop selection and suitability of soils to take low-salinity recycled water throughout the irrigation period, i.e. frequency and depth of irrigation.
Before recycled water is supplied, each farmer will develop a customer site management plan which will outline best practise spray irrigation and monitoring to avoid water logging and protect soils and groundwater.
How can I access recycled water for my property?
If you’re interested in accessing recycled water supply in the Parwan Balliang region, please send your enquiry to WIN@westernwater.com.au.
For access to recycled water in other parts of Western Water’s service area, please send your query to email@example.com.
Why aren’t other services included with the WIN pipeline works?
To keep our services affordable, we must undertake detailed cost-benefit analysis about the supply of drinking water, sewerage and recycled water services to new customers.
It is not cost-effective to provide these services for small communities with low usage.
WIN, however, will see large volumes of recycled water being used and these will increase over time. This makes the recycled water supply to the Parwan Balliang farmers very cost-effective for Western Water and our customers.
As we have planned WIN, we have consulted with local Council regularly. We remain open to incorporating other services as we lay the recycled water pipe network, if planning is underway for these.
How are environmental impacts being managed?
Independent environmental assessments have been undertaken on all WIN farms as well as along the WIN supply system (i.e. where we will lay pipes, build pump stations and storages).
Wherever possible, our goal is to protect native species and habitat. However, the WIN project will impact some native trees and grassland. We are working with GrowWest and TreeWishes to identify the best solutions to offset these impacts.
We are also addressing the energy consumption for the Western Irrigation Network. Pumping recycled water to the Parwan-Balliang farms will require significant energy consumption. High efficiency pumps will be selected to transfer recycled water to farmers under pressure allow irrigation to occur without re-pumping.
How are cultural artefacts being addressed?
Independent cultural and heritage assessments have been undertaken at WIN farms as well as along the WIN supply system (i.e. where we will lay pipes, build pump stations and storages).
Some aboriginal artefacts have been identified and we are working closely with Aboriginal Affairs Victoria (AAV) and traditional owners to address impacts from the WIN project. This includes cultural heritage protection and salvage measures.