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SIR Salt and Water Balance Project Protecting Investment in Modernised Irrigation Salinity Risk Mitigation in the Shepparton Irrigation Region Terry Hunter.

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Presentation on theme: "SIR Salt and Water Balance Project Protecting Investment in Modernised Irrigation Salinity Risk Mitigation in the Shepparton Irrigation Region Terry Hunter."— Presentation transcript:

1 SIR Salt and Water Balance Project Protecting Investment in Modernised Irrigation Salinity Risk Mitigation in the Shepparton Irrigation Region Terry Hunter 1 ; John Mansfield 1 ; James Burkitt 1 ; Carl Walters 2

2 SIR Salt and Water Balance Project Partnership Acknowledgment This project is funded as part of the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority Regional Catchment Strategy in the Shepparton Irrigation Region and is provided with support and funding from the Australian Government and Victorian Government. This project is delivered primarily through partnerships between the Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Goulburn-Murray Water, the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority and other bodies.

3 SIR Salt and Water Balance Project Where is the SIR? You are here

4 SIR Salt and Water Balance Project Addressing Salinity Risk in the SIR –The Problem & Solutions in the Past –What’s Changed –New Understandings – Research –Implications for irrigation management and what is being done to mitigate risk

5 SIR Salt and Water Balance Project Late 20 th Century Wet Climate = Extreme & Inevitable Salinity Risk

6 SIR Salt and Water Balance Project SIR Land & Water Salinity Management Plan Significant investment in Salinity Mitigation. 30 Year Plan to Implement Works & Measures On Farm Planning Surface Drainage Public Managed Groundwater Pumps Privately Operated Groundwater Pumps Monitoring Programs Community Involvement

7 SIR Salt and Water Balance Project SIR Salinity History Economic Impacts by mid 1990’s 270,000 ha with watertables less than 2 m below NS 65,000 ha protected by groundwater pumps In current $ terms with no pumping –Production losses due to salinisation estimated at ~$100 million/year –Regional losses estimated at ~$400 million/year

8 SIR Salt and Water Balance Project A Changed World 1. Drought & Flood

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15 A Changed World 1. Drought and Flood 2. Modernised Irrigation Delivery System & On Farm 3. Drivers Government emphasise on increased food and fibre production 4. Risk & Cost Understanding Perceptions

16 SIR Salt and Water Balance Project Understanding Future Salinity Risk Salt & Water Balance Project (S&WBP) Understanding of water balance and salt mobilisation implications under variable climatic and water management regimes Development of adaptive management systems and “triggers” for salinity and shallow groundwater resource management Harmonisation of salinity management and shallow groundwater resource management

17 SIR Salt and Water Balance Project Hydrology Salinity Management Framework  Confirmation of ongoing risk of high watertables  Recognition that the future risk will vary over time & space – need adaptive management approach  Rates of watertable rise & fall  Confirmation of understanding of salinisation risk  Linkage between high watertables & salinisation  Use of saline water needs to appropriately managed  Salinity risk management approach for privately pumped shallow groundwater  Salinity risk management system to manage shallow watertables & on-farm use of shallow groundwater within a variable climate S&WBP Outputs

18 SIR Salt and Water Balance Project Adaptive Management Approach

19 SIR Salt and Water Balance Project S&WBP Conclusions: Winter/Spring rainfall on a wet catchment main driver for watertable response – irrigation wets the catchment High watertables (and an associated salinity threat) likely in all situations except severe drought Improved irrigation management will help but impact is minor compared with irrigation/rainfall interaction The Land & Water Management Plan is sound, however the hydrological loading is significantly more variable than originally envisaged

20 SIR Salt and Water Balance Project Implications for Irrigation Management The groundwater from private pumps used for irrigation is generally between 500 and 4000 EC The use of the groundwater needs to be carefully managed by: –Shandying (mixing with high quality water) –Paddock rotation –Matching irrigation to soil type –Potentially remediating land (i.e Gypsum application) Transitioning from Regulatory Non regulatory approach with landholders managing their own risk

21 SIR Salt and Water Balance Project Supporting Irrigators Agency focus on developing digital delivery channels to target irrigation landholders Targeted information on –Managing brackish water –Areas of salinity threat (e.g. risk maps) –Groundwater level hydrographs –Options for water table and salinity control

22 SIR Salt and Water Balance Project Questions?


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