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West Grampians Water Pipeline

West Grampians Water Pipeline


Ongoing dry conditions and lack of a secure water supply has significantly impacted primary producers in the Western Grampians for the last three decades.

Producers rely on rainfall-runoff into catchment dams or groundwater bores for their water needs.

From the late 1990s to 2009 the region’s agricultural industry experienced devastating drought impacts, followed by three significant rainfall events in 2010 and 2011 that substantially improved water resources. In the five years that followed, the West Grampians region recorded 30% below the mean rainfall average, the lowest rainfall and inflow on record.

The impact of this is evidenced through stock production across the West Grampians region with sheep and lamb rates declining across the region by 30%, or 1.5 million, head since the year 2000. Stocking rates rose following the return to good rainfall in 2010/11 and the promise of raised market prices, however they have fallen since 2013/14 in response to the dry seasons.

A further run of dry years threatens the commercial viability of the West Grampians agricultural industry and the regional economy it underpins. Making up over 40% of the workforce, the agricultural sector is the economic backbone of the region.


Southern Grampians Shire is partnering with West Wimmera and local farmers to establish a dependable water resource for farmers to plan for a more diversified rural economy. The communities of the West Grampians Region agree that a rural water pipeline, providing access to water 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is essential for the long-term viability of the region. This would provide secure water to around 380,000 hectares of productive agricultural land - approximately 700 rural enterprises. Additionally, this pipeline will create greater levels of regional resilience, reducing environmental pressure on stressed catchments, enhance fire-fighting capacity and provide value adding opportunities that will spread across state borders and benefit the national agricultural industry and the nation that it supports.

This infrastructure project will link a series of what are currently low-security, stand-alone water supply systems for separate townships with the more extensive Wimmera Mallee Pipeline system.

The opportunity this provides to the agricultural industry alone has the potential to generate an additional $284m (in present value) economic benefit over 25 years.

Added to the agricultural benefit, this stimulus will boost the regional amenity and attract visitors, as well as security for water-based events which give an injection of much needed tourism dollars. The investment is expected to create 81 long-term jobs (directly resulting from the project with many hundreds more in-directly supported in the process) in the West Grampians and support new investors who will have greater confidence to intensify, expand or diversify into higher value crops such as horticulture.

The Ask

State and Commonwealth Governments to contribute a combined $67m towards the $99.3m West Grampians Rural Water Pipeline to secure water to our region and enable us to prosper.

Priorities Addressed

  • Economic Growth
  • Jobs
  • Community Activation
  • Environment
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