Fruit grower push for new program

Thursday 2 November, 2017
A leading Goulburn Valley fruit grower has urged the Victorian Government to explore irrigation efficiency programs which do not involve water transfers.

Third generation Ardmona orchardist Rocky Varapodio said he believed enough water had left the region, mostly through the buy-back schemes designed to return water to the Commonwealth Government for environmental purposes.

But he was convinced there was still a need for a program to support farmers in modernising their irrigation systems.

“I think we still need to have some sort of incentive for people to use water properly,” Mr Varapodio said.

“It would be worth investigating a scheme that may be a little bit different to ones we’ve had in the past.

“It would be beneficial to our industry and primary production in general if no more water was to leave the region.”

 The fruit grower said he was always looking at methods to use less water in his large fruit growing operation.

“The use of water in tree crops is the big ticket item and that’s why the (fruit growing) industry is more innovative than other industries because it’s just so important to us to get that bit right,” he said.

 Mr Varapodio participated in two earlier rounds of the Farm Water Program, which required him to transfer an amount of his permanent water.

 “From my point of view it was a win-win. At the time it freed up capital to do other things on the orchard.”

 His involvement in the programs meant the business could install soil moisture monitoring equipment.

“The equipment measures the soil moisture at different depths and gives us a better understanding of the water the trees are using.

“It means no water is being wasted on trees that don’t require it.”


The Goulburn Broken CMA acknowledges and respects First Nations people and the deep connection they have with their land and waters.

We acknowledge the Yorta Yorta and Taungurung people and their ancestors/forbears as Traditional Owners of the land and waters in the Goulburn Broken Catchment (and beyond). We value our ongoing partnerships with Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and Taungurung Land and Waters Council for the health of Country and its people.

We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge and recognise the primacy of Traditional Owners obligations, rights and responsibilities to use and care for their traditional lands and waters.

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