North South pipeline

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|Approximate route from the Goulburn River near Yea to Sugarloaf Reservoir |Approximate route from the Goulburn River near Yea to Sugarloaf Reservoir
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Revision as of 22:31, 5 October 2008

Approximate route from the Goulburn River near Yea to Sugarloaf Reservoir

The North South pipeline was announced by the Victorian Labor Government in 2007 to take water from the Goulburn River on the North side of Great Dividing Range and pump it to Melbourne in an effort to secure Melbourne's water future.

The pipeline is part of the Victorian Governments Foodbowl Modernization Plan, which involves upgrading some of the leaky irrigation infrastructure. The government claims that this will save 225 billion litres of water and use this as justification for taking what they call Melbourne's "75 billion litre share" of the water.

The pipeline has been opposed from a group called Plug the Pipe, who, with support from the Victorian Farmers Federation, claim that there simply isn't enough water to take. The Plug the Pipe group has significant support from farmers and other rural and remote Victorian people and businesses, as they believe that their whole livelihoods will be taken away because of the lack of water, which is essential to farming and food production.

Criticism of the project include:

  • It is inappropriate to take water from the depleted Goulburn River (and hence the Murray Darling Basin).
  • There will be significant environmental impacts, because of the risk to several rare species, wetlands, native forest and 57 highland water ways that are in the proposed path
  • Over 160,000 tonnes per year greenhouse emissions will result from pumping water over the Great Dividing Range.

The Goulburn River supplies "Victoria's Foodbowl", which provides a large proportion of Australia's food, both for domestic consumption and export. The Goulburn water system is already in crisis due to water scarcity.

On the 20th October 2006 the Victorian Premier released a report "The Central Region Sustainable Water Strategy" in which the government claimed it wasn't viable to take water from the Goulburn Valley to Melbourne. The CSIRO have since released several reports stating the same and commenting on the detrimental effect it would have on both the environment and the agricultural production which contributes so much to Victoria's economy.

The Victorian Auditor General has released a report concerning the government's lack of accountability in regard to the project and its unwillingness to conduct the appropriate environmental and fiscal studies to justify the projects claimed benefits to the communities.

70% of Victoria's 79 municipal councils have also voted in favour of the project being halted until proper investigations are conducted.


Quick facts

  • It is planned to pump 75 billion litres (GL) of water to Melbourne per year
  • The pipeline will be 70km in length
  • The cost is estimated at $750 million
  • The pipeline diameter is 1.7m
  • IT is planned to be completed in 2010
  • The proposed route is close to the Melba Highway
  • 18 megawatts of power will be required to pump 300,000 tonnes of water over the Great Dividing Range each day. This is 28% of the power generated by Guthega hydro-power station in the Snowy Mountains.[1]


  1. Outcome of Eildon-Sugarloaf north-south pipeline will be anything but sweet, Kenneth Davidson, The Age

See also

External links

News articles


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