Rural Water Awards
The Rural Water Awards seek to recognise and reward Victorian rural water users (licence/entitlement holders) that have developed or adapted clever ideas that have led to better water use outcomes, delivering or having the potential to deliver water savings or greater productivity for their business.
2016 Rural Water Awards
1 Jul 2016 - 31 Aug 2016
The Irrigation District Water User category was won by Ian and Mary Hamono from Hamily Pty Ltd. Kyabram couple Ian and Mary Hamono are leading the way in lucerne production in the Goulburn Valley. Their property, once used for growing tomatoes with an aged irrigation flood layout, has been transformed using state-of-the-art technology to grow maize, wheat, barley, canola and soya beans. A new 160 hectare sub-surface drip irrigation system has provided increased yield (an extra one to two tonne per hectare), increased income and greater efficiencies. This means 100 per cent of land can be irrigated, compared with 68 per cent previously. It also provides water savings of approximately 1.5 ML per hectare per irrigation. Mr Hamono said sub-surface drip irrigation is continuing to be adopted as best practice throughout the Goulburn Valley.
The Groundwater user award was won by Karl and Will Hooke of Willera Merinos. Increased returns on stock sales, higher cropping income, larger crop yields and better planning certainty are all benefits brothers Karl and Will Hooke have enjoyed thanks to their clever use of groundwater. Following repeated low allocations from the Loddon River system for their Serpentine property, the pair sought an alternative water source. Following exploratory drilling, a high yielding aquifer not previously mapped was located. The brothers invested in drilling and construction of a 450 mm diameter bore to a depth of 102 metres and capable of delivering a 21 ML per day. Now even in dry seasons such as 2015, Willera Merinos have a back-up water supply.
The Surface water user award was won by Darren Minter from Minter Magic who have developed and commissioned a water recycling plant. The property has seen significant water savings of 65ML per annum, equating to over $13,000 in water on the temporary market. The farm has also seen an increase in crop quality and reduced salinity impacts with the improvement of water quality from the recycling plant. This additional water now available for the property means Minters can still comply with Annual Use Limit requirements while having additional water available for use. The farm has diversified and produces not just asparagus but also citrus and almonds.
Community and Education was won by the Lockwood Primary School. Lockwood Primary School is a rural school of around 160 students situated about 20 kilometres west of Bendigo. The school is a Coliban Water customer using water supplied to the area from the Coliban Rural system via the Lockwood Channel. Through a supportive principal and an enthusiastic and creative teacher the school has become a model of sustainability. The school has demonstrated innovative water technology and inspiring projects to motivate and mobilise staff, students and the broader school community. Lockwood Primary School science teacher Karry Gray said “The energy the students have shown throughout the projects has been amazing. Each class chose a water saving strategy and by giving the students ownership they were fully committed. It’s been great to see what started in the classroom extend into playtime and lunchtime. They are so passionate and as a result our school is now far more water efficient”.
Other state level prizes were awarded on the day as follows:
- Robinvale College was runner-up in the Community and Education category
- A Gardener’s Company received a Highly Commended in the Community and Education category
- Budou Farms was runner-up in the Irrigation category
- Acocks Pty Ltd was runner-up in the Surface water category
There were also a number of other state finalists that we would like to acknowledge and congratulate as they were recipients of their regional Rural Water Award in the category they nominated in. These include:
- Leathorn Dairies in the Irrigation category
- EW & FM Pascoe in the Irrigation category
- Hillywood Tree Nursery in the Surface water category
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2014 Rural Water Awards
1 Jul 2014 - 5 Dec 2014
Congratulations to the state winners of the 2014 Rural Water Awards.
The Irrigation District Water User category was won by Mackenzie Craig from Llanreath Agricultural Enterprises near Nathalia, who developed an all-encompassing on farm modernisation system. Through the use of cloud software to manage automated gates, centre pivot and lateral irrigators, soil moisture, smart wetting and channel water level sensors, as well as a smart meter connected to his service point, there have been multiple benefits. In addition to 320ML being saved each year, less water is now needed for the lucerne (decreasing from 1.3ML/ha to 0.8ML/ha); the re-watering interval has been extended from two to three weeks; and improved crop growth has seen a 20 per cent increase in ewe and lamb stocking rates. On top of this, the irrigation runtime on their lucerne has been reduced and as a result irrigation labour costs have dropped by $21,000.
The Groundwater user award was won by Ronnie Hibma from Denison, with a project that demonstrated excellent use of groundwater technology in what is a traditionally channel irrigated area, and also incorporates sustainability by using effluent. The project allows more flexibility when irrigating and has made a huge improvement in efficiency. There have been noted improvements in labour cost and water savings.
The Surface water user award was won by Calum Peace from Garacama Pty Ltd who’s redevelopment of the farm was seen to be not only innovative but very successful in pre-planning, implementation and building in the latest farming technologies available to the cropping and irrigation industries.
Community and Education was won by the Irymple South Primary School who have developed a project that not only educates the students about sustainability and the full cycle of water use but also gives the students a real ownership of the project with the students taking the lead in how it’s managed as part of the learning process. An added benefit of the program is the produce generated by the garden for students and parents to enjoy, this also generates additional income which is put back towards the running costs of the garden like restocking seed, fertiliser and chicken feed.
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