Werribee project wraps up just in time for the irrigation season

19 September 2023

With drier times forecast and the irrigation season upon us, the completion of the Werribee Irrigation District Modernisation project, stage 4, has come at the perfect time for local residents.

The project will not only contribute to 1,350 megalitres of water savings (stage 4 and 5 total), but it will deliver less saline water and boost production for local farmers who can now tap into a more efficient water system.

This project involved the replacement of an ageing and inefficient irrigation network with a modern, automated one. This upgrade is helping to ensure water isn’t lost through evaporation and seepage, like it was through the old system.

Stage 4 completed works included the installation of:

  • 8 kilometres of distribution pipeline
  • 23 upgraded automated outlets.

The importance of these works and, indeed the Werribee region to Victoria, is well known across the state. The Werribee region is one of the state’s largest producers of vegetables, in particular green leafy vegetables. In fact, around 70% of Australia’s lettuces are sourced from Werribee South.  

It’s estimated the region has a farmgate value (the cost of production once supply costs have been removed) of more than $187 million. This is expected to increase by around $1.8 million with the completion of stages 4 and 5 of the project.

While at the same time as boosting farm production, the irrigation project will also take pressure off the local Werribee River, which will allow this ecosystem to flourish.

The project forms part of a staged upgrade of the Werribee Irrigation District, with 4 of the 5 stages now complete. The final stage, stage 5, is expected to be completed in late 2024.

The $22 million project was jointly funded by the Australian Government through the National Water Grid Fund and Southern Rural Water.

Birds-eye view of the project during construction, with the pipe ready to be installed.
Birds eye view of the project during construction, with the pipe ready to be installed. Image credit: Southern Rural Water

Learn more

Read more about stages 4 and 5 of the modernisation project.