The East Grampians Rural Pipeline project is one step closer to reality, with detailed designs almost ready for the public.
Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water managing director Mark Williams said designs for early works are almost complete.
"In December of 2019, we engaged with a consortium (Wangaratta-based Dunstans Construction Group) about the early work for the East Grampians Rural Pipeline," he said.
"A detailed design is about to be released to the public... we will engage with landowners soon.
"A risk assessment of the land used will take place and Traditional Landowners will assist us with a cultural survey of the area."
The $85.2 million project will deliver a secure stock and domestic township water supply to more than 500,000 hectares of land.
Mr Williams said the project is a "game changer" for the entire region.
"It's a real win-win situation for everyone," he said.
"Under climate change, there has been less predictable rainfall for years.
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"This project will deliver more reliable water supply and reduce the amount of water carting."
Upon completion, the scheme may service up to 1500 rural farming properties; however, former Ararat Rural City mayor and advocate for the project, Paul Hooper, said the number might grow.
"This project will be transformational," he said.
"We've never had reliable water security in our part of the world.
"We've had no opportunity for aggressive agriculture, such as pigs or chicken.
"This project decreases the risk for farmers and increases the return on investment."
Mr Hooper said the project would also help the viticulture industry, currently struggling due to loss in revenue.
"Grape yield is down up to two-thirds in the past seven years," he said.
"It's no secret that Bests (a winery in Great Western) spent vast amounts of money bringing in water.
"It's a significant investment, but I haven't spoken to a producer of any scale who won't jump on this opportunity."
For more information on the East Grampians Rural Pipeline, visit www.gwmwater.org.au/
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