Joint media release: Werribee Irrigation Project benefits veggie growers

The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for the Environment and Water
Joanne Ryan MP, Federal Member for Lalor
The Hon Harriet Shing MP, Victorian Minister for Water
Matthew Hilakari MP, Member for Point Cook

Vegetable growers in Werribee can look forward to a more efficient and secure water supply with the completion of the next stage of the Werribee Irrigation project.

The $42 million project is being undertaken in five stages, with Stage Four replacing approximately 8 km of open channel with modern pipeline and installing 23 automated water outlets. 

A reliable piped supply means less water is lost to leakage and evaporation. While ensuring farmers can boost their production and be prepared for the challenges of drought.

Stages Four and Five of the Werribee Irrigation District Modernisation Project are jointly funded by the Australian Government through the National Water Grid Fund and Southern Rural Water.

Stage Five works are expected to start in Autumn 2024, and include the construction of a further 8 km of pipeline, the installation of 47 automated outlets and 2 new regulators.

Once complete, it’s estimated that the project will generate up to 5,000 megalitres (ML) of water savings across all five stages, which is the same amount of water as 2,000 Olympic swimming pools. This will be used to improve local irrigation and the health of the Werribee River. 

Stages One to Three were previously funded by the Victorian Government and Southern Rural Water.  This project was completed in 2019 and modernised approximately 23 kilometres of pipeline and upgraded more than 130 customer outlets.

Quotes attributable to Federal Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek MP:

“We know how precious Australia’s water resources are and we’re committed to providing water security for farmers and food security for Australians.

“This project will support the region’s veggie farmers as well as save water and take pressure off the local river system.

“It’s a win for farmers, a win for the environment, and a win for the region’s economy.”

Quotes attributable to the Federal Member for Lalor, Joanne Ryan MP:

“I’m delighted to see the completion of the new Werribee Irrigation District pipeline which will support our region’s hard-working farmers. Our farmers are a vital contributor to our local economy and the country’s vegetable intake. 

“Our region is proud to be the home of nationally significant producers of fresh vegetables and water is vital for their growing success. This project is a great win for our veggie farmers and the region.”

Quotes attributable to Victorian Minister for Water Harriet Shing:

“Modernisation of this vital food bowl is really important for food security, local jobs and more efficient water use as we face the challenges of climate change and population growth.”

“The Werribee Irrigation District is a huge economic driver for our state and puts top-quality food on our tables every day.”

Quote attributable to Member for Point Cook Matthew Hilakari:

"This vital infrastructure will ensure our farmers are best supported to grow world class produce for Victoria."

Quotes attributable to Managing Director of Southern Rural Water Cameron FitzGerald:

“The Werribee Irrigation District modernisation project delivers big efficiency benefits to our customers, and we are proud to have completed another stage that helps secure their farming futures and makes them more climate resilient.”