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$1.6m trial of new irrigation technology

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THE Victorian Government will contribute $800,000 toward a pilot scheme that will see state-of-the-art technology employed to improve irrigators' water use efficiency and, as a result, increase environmental flows to the Murray and Snowy Rivers.

The Victorian Minister for Environment and Conservation, Sherryl Garbutt, has announced a pilot scheme for the Tatura region, which will employ new technology for controlling water distribution through irrigation channels.

The new technology, developed by Rubicon Systems Australia in conjunction with the University of Melbourne, involves electronically controlled channel gates, linked together through radio telemetry and new computer software to enable the whole channel network to be operated remotely and in a dynamic manner.

Ms Garbutt said that, upon the successful completion of the pilot, the Government would look at appropriate ways to promote the use of the technology throughout Victoria's irrigation networks.

The pilot scheme will be managed by Goulburn-Murray Water, which will match the funding dollar-for-dollar, on the Central Goulburn No. 2 Channel near Tatura. It will be conducted over a two-year period, and in close consultation with the local irrigation community.

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