2013 sees the completion of to date the largest stock and domestic supply pipeline project in Australia. The project was commissioned in 2010 and has been supplying the community of the Wimmera Mallee very successfully since that time.

 The project involves replacing 17,000km of wasteful open channels with around 9,000km of pressure pipeline. Something over 8,500km of this was plastics pipe -the majority being PVC and the rest PE. wimmera-mallee

This year the final phase of the project will begin –filling in the old channels and in the process returning around 6,200 hectares of land to productive use. Putting the value of that land into perspective to quote the new Managing Director of GWMWater Mark Williams “assuming the area was sown to wheat ….. the value to the region would be over $2.4 million” – and that is every year. The infill will also remove odd shaped parcels of land, opening up many properties and facilitating more efficient farming practices. For some farmers the channels severely restricted access to their properties.

One Beulah East farmer was quoted as saying that the removal of the channels meant he no longer had 5km drive with his machinery to get from one side of his property to the other. Much of the restoration work is being undertaken by the local community as their one third contributions to the cost of the project.

This is an historic time for the region and so significant has been the impact of the pipeline that local journalist Melissa Pouliot has written a book about the pipeline titled “For Life… how we got the water back”.

At the book launch the then MD for GWMWater Jeff Rigby talked about how the pipeline had transformed the region by restoring water to the community – he refers to it as “the phenomenon of the pipeline”. 

One of the major requirements for nearly all piping applications is joint tightness. PVC pipes are available with deep insertion, push-together gasketed or solvent cement joints. Gasketed PVC pipe joints have consistently outperformed those of traditional pipe products in actual service.

PVC pipes are simple and easy to assemble and gasketed joints can be filled, tested and placed in service immediately after assembly.

The use of PVC pipes has aided the development of rapid, yet reliable installation techniques and contributed to the economic viability of the project. This project may have been based on environmental grounds and water recovery but its benefits extend well beyond this aspect and we need to see more projects like this being undertaken by all levels of Government.

Article with thanks to PIPA, Pipeline Newsletter March 2013