Sustainable Irrigation

The Sustainable Irrigation Program oversees the delivery of on-ground works and community engagement relating to sustainable irrigation in the Goulburn Broken Catchment. These activities align with overarching strategies for the Goulburn Broken Catchment and the Murray Darling Basin.

The Shepparton Irrigation Region (Agricultural Floodplains) Land And Water Management Plan 2016-2020 directs the strategic priorities for investment across the irrigated landscape of the Goulburn Broken Catchment.

The Shepparton Irrigation Region Land and Water Management Plan (SIRLWMP) was updated for the fifth time in 2016 and used resilience and adaptive approaches.  Activities are focused around five critical attributes of water availably, farm and regional viability, native vegetation, watertables and water quality.  The plan builds on three decades of lessons and achievements.

Plan implementation includes a range of activities such as community engagement and involvement in policy directions, interventions and research, as well as a range of on-ground works.  The SIRLWMP implementation is overseen by a community-based committee SIR People, Planning and Integration Committee (SIRPPIC).  The intent is to increase regional resilience by connecting stakeholders: the plan and its resulting processes influence how stakeholders invest, impacting positively on natural resources.

The original 30-year plan was prepared by the regional community in 1989, mainly as a response to increasing salinity and watertables in the region.  The SIRLWMP may be the longest running integrated natural resource management plan supported by both the community and governments in Australia, and possibly the world.

The focus on managing the natural base evolved from an emphasis on the single threat of salinity in the 1980s to integrated catchment management in the mid-1990s, to valuing total benefits via ‘ecosystem services’ (such as maintaining productive soils and clean water) in the early 2000s, to the resilience of complex systems of people and nature from 2005.

While the community-agency partnership model fostered during development and implementation of the 1989 plan remains a feature today, the current update also highlights the importance of linking long-term management of natural resources more directly with the business of food production. This update also lays down a clearer pathway between the complex system of people and nature and what needs to be done to make the regional system resilient.

The current SIRLWMP is in two parts:

Part A:          Growing the natural advantage establishes the planning framework that links the long-term strategic vision with on-ground action and ongoing adaptation.

Part B:           SIR profile, achievements, economic analysis and implementation program information.

Under development

                                -  General information about a range of technical and planning topics (including links to further advice and support).

  • Property management planning:

                                 - Alignment with irrigation modernisation - channel bank removal guidelines 

                                 - Whole farm planning flyer

                                    Earthworks flyer

                                    Earthworks cost flyer   

                                 - Farm Water Program

                                 - Soil moisture monitoring equipment incentive

                                -  Plan2Farm

                                 -  Improved farm irrigation practices - Agriculture Victoria

  • Protection of environmental features:

                                – Wetland protection from salinisation

                                – Remnant vegetation protection and enhancement

  • Provision of surface drainage:

                                – Primary

                                – Community

  • Groundwater and salinity control:

                               - Provision of groundwater pumping to protect assets

                               - Reporting under the Basin Salinity Management Plan

                               - Research and development

                              -  Shallow Groundwater in the Shepparton Irrigation Region website

                     - Watertable maps