VICTORIAN Water Minister Lisa Neville has received the final business case for the East Grampians Water Supply pipeline.
The proposal would extend the Wimmera-Mallee pipeline service area to beyond Buangor and south to Westmere.
Ms Neville said the state government was considering a proposal to connect water to rural farms and properties severely impacted by decade-long drought as part of a potential pipeline project across south-west Victoria.
The project submitted by Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water would deliver stock and domestic water to properties that have previously relied on their own catchment dams and carting water for use.
Ms Neville met with landholders at Great Western on Thursday Morning to discuss their needs for the project and surveyed a potential site. .
“It’s great to get a first-hand understanding of the challenges local landholders are facing and the potential benefits of this pipeline project,” she said.
The $85.2 million project would construct a pipeline network that would deliver a secure stock and domestic water supply for up to 530,000 hectares of land to help boost agricultural productivity in the region.
A total of $64 million in government funding is being sought for the project, with a construction timeline estimated at three years from the date of funding approval.
Under the proposal, the project would supply water to agricultural areas surrounding Ararat, and some sections of the Pyrenees and Northern Grampians shires.
Ararat Rural City mayor Paul Hooper said the would raise the issue during an upcoming trip to Canberra as part of a Central Highlands delegation.
“We will aggressively pursue the opportunities that we have got for this project,” he said.
“The mayors are all supportive of this project, it is one of the most highest ranked projects for this region.
“In 15 of the last 20 years we have had sub-normal rainfall. It has forced the agriculture sector to destock and we have much less cropping as a result of that.”
Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water chair Peter Vogel said the hoped the federal government would help to pay for extending the pipeline into the region
“I’m hoping the feds come to the party. The state government have come to the party, otherwise they wouldn’t have asked for a business case that stacks up as well as it does,” he said.
“Security of supply makes it so much easier for people running stock. If you look at the Wimmera-Mallee pipeline in Buloke Shire, you’re looking at about $27 million of intensive livestock industries.”
The pipeline’s business case is one of three potential projects being investigated under the $1 million East Grampians West Wimmera Feasibility Project.