Farms from Parwan to Balliang are a step closer to accessing better water supplies.

The Western Water board has approved funding for the planning phase for the Western Irrigation Network, which is aimed at supplying recycled water from the Melton and Bacchus Marsh treatment plants to farmers in the Parwan-Balliang district.

Western Water managing director Neil Brennan said the network would “greatly improve” agricultural productivity.

“Significant productivity gains are expected by converting existing farms to irrigation farming and by attracting new, higher-value crops to the area,”
Mr Brennan said.

A network feasibility study found that there was potential for development of a class C recycled water irrigation scheme in the Parwan-Balliang district, a dryland farming area.

Class C recycled water is suitable for fodder crops and can be used for human food crops processed before consumption such as oats, wheat, barley, chick peas and canola.

Mr Brennan said Western Water would consider cultural and environmental uses for recycled water while planning future stages of the project.

Some capital works projects that will support the network are already under way, including an inter-connector pipeline between the Melton and Bacchus Marsh recycled water plants.