Innovation in water use is vital if Victoria is going to double food and fibre production by 2030, Water Minister Peter Walsh said today.
The inaugural Rural Water Innovation Awards were held today in Melbourne to recognise exciting initiatives by Victorian rural water licence holders.
"The four winners have all used new and innovative methods to achieve water volume savings, increased productivity and return on investment," Mr Walsh said.
"Global demand for food and fibre is rising steadily and rural water users also face the challenge of a variable climate and competition.
"We need to start producing more food and fibre with less water as we work towards the Government's goal of doubling production over the next 20 years. Innovations in water use are vital to increase production and efficiency," Mr Walsh said.
The Rural Water Innovation Awards are a joint initiative of Southern Rural Water (SRW), Lower Murray Water (LMW) and Goulburn-Murray Water (G-MW) together with the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) and the Department of Primary Industries (DPI).
The awards were presented by Parliamentary Secretary Gary Blackwood, on behalf of Mr Walsh, to the most innovative irrigation district water user, groundwater user and surface water users. A special award recognised outstanding excellence in innovation.
The inaugural winners are:
Surface water user - Phillip Wratten of Dream-Time Wholesale Nursery at Heath Hill for using the latest innovative systems to grow high quality trees.
Irrigation district water user - Ross and Jo Allen of Boisdale for the evolution of their 1,000 acre property to a highly efficient water use and minimal labour operation.
Groundwater user - David and Michele Sheward of Kanumbra, for development of their 4.5 acre olive grove by the installation of self-watering underground pressurised micro-spray system.
Outstanding excellence in innovation - Col Beasy of Thurla Farms, a fish farming enterprise near Red Cliffs for an agriculture/aquaculture property that demonstrates efficient water reuse."On behalf of the Victorian Coalition Government, I congratulate all the winners. I'm proud to present these awards and I look forward to seeing further innovative practises from our water users across the state," Mr Blackwood said.