Loddon's pipe dream | Bendigo Advertiser

BIG DRY: Wedderburn farmers are battling dry conditions.

BIG DRY: Wedderburn farmers are battling dry conditions. THE push to connect the drought-stricken Wedderburn agricultural area to the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline is gathering momentum with a series of meetings to be held on the topic this week. Loddon Shire mayor Gavan Holt said he and other council staff would meet on Thursday with state Water Minister Lisa Neville and Bendigo East MP Jacinta Allan to discuss the linkage which would see water from the Grampians available to Wedderburn district farmers.

Loddon Shire councillors met earlier this week with representatives from GWMWater. “We’re progressing very well but it’s still early days,” Councillor Holt said. He said farmers in some parts of the shire had no water security.

“At the moment, those areas have got no water supply other than what falls from the sky,” he said. Cr Holt said the lack of a reliable source of water was holding back economic development in some parts of the shire. “We cannot attract intensive animal industries without a top class reliable water supply,” he said.

Cr Holt said the drought situation was “absolutely terrible”. “The dams are dry, it’s dusty, farmers are carting water for their stock,” he said. The dams are dry, it’s dusty, farmers are carting water for their stock. – Gavan Holt

“But it’s nothing that a nice new reticulated pipe system wouldn’t fix.” Victorian Farmers Federation Wedderburn branch president Graham Nesbit said farmers hadn’t had running water since flooding four years ago. Much of the region is now categorised as suffering through a one in 10 year drought event.

Mr Nesbit said farmers were struggling. “We’ve had individual dry years like this before but they’ve always been followed up by a wet year or preceded by a wet year,” he said. “But now we’re into the third year of receiving 50 to 60 per cent of our annual rainfall.”

He said the proposed pipeline linkage would offer farmers security. “It would basically secure us for stock water,” he said. “Even if they started work on this tomorrow, it could still be a few years away but if people know it’s coming they could think they would be able to survive this.”

GWMWater spokesman Andrew Rose told Wedderburn farmers not to hold their breath. “This isn’t a quick fix,” he said. “It’s very early days at this stage.”

Mr Rose said a similar project to connect Landsborough to the pipeline which was nearing completion had taken several years to get off the ground.

However he said if all parties were determined to see a quick resolution, a more timely outcome could be reached for Wedderburn.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *