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 AwardsDate:
Friday 1st July 2016 – Wednesday 31st August, 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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