The Coleambally Irrigation Area - The Murrumbidgee Valley
The Murrumbidgee

The Murrumbidgee

The Coleambally Irrigation Area– a brief history

The Coleambally Irrigation Area was made possible due to the building of the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme.  Work started on the irrigation area in 1958, and the first farms received irrigation from the Murrumbidgee River in the 1960–1961 growing season, marking the start of what would become the nation’s fourth largest irrigation district.

Farms in the irrigation area were initially allocated through a ballot system, with some farms allocated to armed forces veterans. Coleambally is the newest town in NSW and was officially opened in 1968 to serve as a hub for the irrigation district and to provide amenities to local farmers.

The Coleambally Irrigation Co-operative Limited (CICL) is one of two major irrigation infrastructure operators in the Murrumbidgee Valley and is set up to supply the irrigation area with water.

It delivers water to nearly 500 farms via 516km of irrigation channels. It’s one of the nation’s most important irrigation areas and, like the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, is an important source of food that has fed a growing nation for more than half a century.

With more than 457,000 hectares of farmland under its area of operations, the CIA is a critical contributor to the region’s food bowl, producing enough food to feed millions of people every year, and providing billions of dollars in exports.

CICL also manages 1,200 hectares of Crown land as biodiversity reserves. These support habitat for some of the Murrumbidgee Valley’s most endangered species, such as superb parrots, bitterns and bell frogs.

As one of Australia’s most significant irrigation infrastructure operators, CICL has invested heavily in modernisation of its infrastructure, from revamping its canals to a 14-year project to remove Dethridge wheels and replace them with Total Channel Control, which is solar powered and allows accurate, remotely controlled on-farm metering and flow measurement, across the network.

Share this post

Sign up for updates on the latest news and information.