Mildura Weekly : Friday April 2 2015 Vol 9 No 21
06 NEWS MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 2015 By BEN PISCIONERI CONTRACTORS are about a third of the way through pipeline works that will replace more than 10 kilo- metres of open channel in Mer- bein and Red Cliffs as part of the $120million Sunraysia Modernisa- tion Project. More than two kilometres of the 7.4-kilometre stretch of open channel in Merbein has already been completed, while just over a kilometre of the planned three ki- lometres of open channel at Red Cliffs is finished, putting the SMP ahead of schedule, according to project manager Brian Smith. All the required pipeline has al- ready been laid out along Channel Road in preparation for the works, which are expected to be complet- ed after Easter. Mr Smith said the new pipe- lines at both Merbein and Red Cliffs would come ‘online’ before the end of the year. “Live connections will be going in through this year in Merbein and Red Cliffs, with live ‘cut over’ later this year,” he said. “Pipelining in Mildura mean- while will start later this year and see some ‘cut over’ mid-next year.” Once the new Merbein Pump Station and pipeline is completed, Lower Murray Water will be able to supply water at up to 340 megali- tres a day. Mr Smith said other works as part of the wider SMP were also on target. “The metering is progressing very well, way ahead of milestone requirements, and the automation project will see teams in the field sometime in late April,” Mr Smith said. LMW managing director Phil Endley said he was pleased with the progress of the works so far, and was hopeful of further expansions to the project in the future. There have so far been two un- planned expansions to the SMP, made possible by running under- budget, including an additional 2.3 kilometres of pipeline in Mer- bein. This followed an earlier broad- ening of the SMP to include an additional 5.3 kilometres of pipe- line from Irymple to the Benetook Dam. “We’re ahead of schedule and below budget at the moment and, who knows, we might see more happening in the future,” Mr End- ley said. “We’re crossing our fingers that we’ll be able to that, but obviously it’s a balance of what we need to keep behind us as a contingency versus what we’d like to do with the money remaining, so it’s a bit of a balancing act, but yes, we’d love to do more. “The other thing I’m always try- ing to remind people of is that it’s $103million of Federal money and no cost to irrigators. It’s just a good deal, a great deal for the commu- nity.” The SMP has been hailed as one of the biggest financial investments in a capital project in Sunraysia in recent memory, and a “once in a 100-year opportunity for our irriga- tion system.” One hundred and twenty mil- lion dollars has been set aside for the project, comprising $103mil- lion in Federal funding and just un- der $20million in LMW funding. The Federal funding was depen- dent on the SMP delivering seven gigalitres of water savings to the en- vironment. The project is being delivered by LMW and is expected to take three years to complete. It includes replacing open channels with low pressure pipe- lines, upgrading pump stations and meters, automating channels and decommissioning redundant chan- nels, ultimately aimed at providing irrigators in Mildura, Merbein and Red Cliffs with more reliable and higher quality irrigation water de- livery. SMP progressing ahead of schedule • ALL GO: Contractors working on the Merbein section of the Sunraysia Modernisation Project continue to lay pipeline this week, eventually replacing more than seven kilometres of open channel. LEFT: Lower Murray Water managing director Phil Endley, and BELOW, Sunraysia Modernisation Project manager Brian Smith.
Friday March 27 2015 Vol 9 No 20
Friday April 10 2015 Vol 9 No 22