Drainage that makes a difference on Murray Valley Highway

Traffic conditions on the Murray Valley Highway north of Nathalia have returned to normal following the completion of major drainage works.

Traffic conditions on the Murray Valley Highway north of Nathalia have returned to normal following the completion of major drainage enhancement works.

Since 2022, Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) and the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (GBCMA) have been working together to make widescale improvements to the drainage network across the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID) as part of the GMID Drainage Management Strategy.

The strategy focuses on improving the drainage network across the irrigation district to minimise waterlogging on private and public land and to support irrigation sustainability.

A significant part of this process has been removing obstructions such as elevated roads and farm tracks. They have also replaced damaged or undersized culverts that prevent water from following its natural course and minimise inundation.

GMW Drainage Systems manager Carolyn Nigro said the recent works would improve drainage within the Murray Valley West catchment.

“The culvert under the Murray Valley Highway was on an angle that prevented water flowing under the highway until the drain was almost full,” she said. “The obstruction was a major issue for Murray Valley West catchment drainage, as it would create a bottleneck during large rainfall events rather than follow its natural course. We upgraded the existing culvert and installed a siphon, allowing water to follow a more natural drainage course – similar to if the road was not there. These changes will greatly improve the effectiveness of the drainage in the upper catchment and the integrity of the road.”

As part of the extensive drainage works being undertaken in the Murray Valley West catchment, GMW has sought input from 81 landholders who have been identified as potentially impacted by the works. Paul Kelly owns Ponderosa Park, a horse breeding farm adjacent to where the siphon was installed.

Kelly said he initially had reservations about the works but was now pleased with the outcome.

“I was a bit concerned about the new siphon because if it didn’t work, we would lose irrigation to about a third of the property,” he said. “GMW visited us early on to speak about the project and how it would work and to listen to our concerns. We’re pleased with how the work has gone. GMW has kept us in the loop, and the contractors (Apex Earthworks) have also been great to deal with.”

Nigro said she was grateful for landholders’ involvement in the process.

“The feedback landholders have given us has been invaluable,” she said. “There has been strong community support, and the local knowledge has assisted our modelling and helped ensure the project’s success.”

To learn more about the GMID’s irrigation drainage network is being improved, head to the GMW drainage page

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