Ararat Rural City mayor Jo Armstrong joined some of the region's key agribusiness representatives for a briefing from GWMWater on the progress of the East Grampians Rural Pipeline Project.
Council has been advised that GWMWater are currently finalising revised project plans before undertaking further with key stakeholders and the community about the project over the coming months.
Cr Armstrong highlighted Council's long-standing advocacy for the project as a vital solution to provide water security for farmers.
"The pipeline has been designed to create a water grid that delivers water security now and offers opportunities for farm businesses to expand in the future," she said.
"Agribusinesses in Ararat Rural City are the main beneficiaries of the project with the original scope offering around 1,500 farms and unserviced towns with up to 750 million litres more water each year.
"This is a game-changer, bringing greater opportunity to diversify, value-add, and buffer the cycle of good and bad harvest years.
"After working so hard to put ourselves in the box seat and the government funding secured in 2019, progress has been slower than we would have liked but its pleasing to hear that the project is moving ahead."
Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water highlighted that detailed design work had resulted in changes to the project with it now incorporating the Mt Cole Reservoir along with Lake Fyans as the main supply storages for the network.
Prime lamb producer Charlie de Fegely said landowner support has also been vital to the project in terms of co-contributions from users to help deliver the project and cooperation to see the benefits maximised.
"We've been partners in the project since day one and while there have been delays, local agribusinesses have got behind the project with over 400 heads of agreements now secured," he said.
"The local landowner commitment increases the benefits, with the changes in the scope allowing the pipeline network to supply over 1,000 megalitres of water.
"This offers the solution to end the harsh reality of needing to cart water to keep stock alive when climate conditions worsen, to transform it into a situation where we can bring in more stock."
Cam Conboy of Gorst Rural Supplies reiterated the benefits of a stable water network that services farms in Moyston, Willaura, Maroona, Tatyoon and Langi Logan.
"This region is the cornerstone of the nation's food bowl with a guaranteed water supply, the difference between young farmers packing it in or investing in a future on the land," he said.
"The last few years have highlighted the volatility of global markets if we don't invest in underpinning domestic food security.
"Getting water when we need it means farmers can plan ahead, expand production and continue supporting our local economy."
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