Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Rochy and beyond #3

I knew that there were irrigation channels in the north of our state. Unless you are particularly interested, leave now, but then knowledge is never a burden.

I was interested to know how they worked. It would seem that there are three classes of channels. Big ones, medium ones and small ones. Stepmother lives on the edge of medium one which borders their four acres. Apart from cold water at their kitchen sink which comes from a tank, all their house water is from the channel. It is pumped by their pump to a tank where it is chemically treated and then into the house. It is clear and you can't tell the difference from the tank water. For this, they pay a set fee for household and garden water from the channel. The fee is calculated on averages.

In the winter, the supply to the channel is turned off but the water that remains in their channel stays there for their use. Given how little water that there is in the Campaspie River, I think their channel is supplied from the Murray River.

There is a lock at the corner of the property, although it is only a few inches of fall.

As well as their domestic water, they also pay a flood fee. They are allowed to flood their pasture, maybe three acres, six times a year, obviously in the dry summer/autumn months. The fee for this is also calculated on averages as their property is small. It is not worth the department's expense to monitor it. Larger properties have water wheel to measure the flow.

The border of their paddock area has small levy banks to contain the water. The water stays within the paddock area. The lift up gate is opened and for the first watering, it may take six hours of flow to get a couple of inches of water over the paddock. After the first water and the cracks are filled in, it may only take three hours the next time.

My step mother and her partner extracting all this water is a bit of an issue. Multiply by the number of farms, most extracting a lot more water from the Murray, well, one can understand why the river level in the Murray is so low.

I think it is the Campaspie River that feeds Lake Eppalock. Campaspie River is like a dirty drain with little flow. No wonder Lake Eppalock is now officially dry.

I think this water channel thing is all a wee bit wrong and there is a need to step back, in spite of the government spending mega dollars to cover the channels in, to reduce evaporation.


  1. I visited Lake Eppalock back in May. We used to have a caravan there when I was a kid, some summers it was full, others it was empty, or so I thought. I really thought I had seen it empty, just shows how much I knew. What a sorry excuse for a puddle it is.

    Oh, and I think the irrigation channels in that part of the state are fed from the Goulburn and Broken catchments (Waranga Basin, Lake Mokoan, Goulburn Wier etc) and not the Murray. In that case the water would need to flow up hill ;-), so they send it cross-country following a contour instead.

  2. Interesting Ben. Of course it obvious when I think about it. Water does not flow uphill. I don't know the area well at all though. I did see the name Waranga Channel somewhere though.