WATER will be recovered from Lindsay Island in Victoria's north west to go towards the state's target under the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
Under the plan states can channel some of the money allocated for buybacks to reovering water through environmental works and measures.
Lindsay Island is in the Murray Sunset National Park, west of Mildura.
Federal Water Minister Tony Burke said using water in a more effective way "means less water will need to be recovered from Basin communities without risking the health of the environment.''
"When I announced the final Murray Darling-Basin Plan at the National Press Club, I said that we would work to use the mechanism in the Plan to reach the same environmental outcomes without requiring so much buy-back,'' Mr Burke.
"I said that there could be up to 650 gigalitres of water which would not be required to be obtained through buy-back without sacrificing the environmental outcomes described at 2750GL.''
Victorian Water Minister Peter Walsh said significant work had already been undertaken at Lindsay Island through The Living Murray program.
Mr Walsh said initial feasibility studies have indicated that the Lindsay Island proposal can achieve, at that site, better environmental outcomes than have been identified in the 3,200GL modelling.
"We believe that these outcomes can be delivered for approximately $56 million,'' Mr Walsh said.
The works are expected to provide benefits for 6,000 hectares of floodplain, wetlands and creek lines, and achieve the ecological objectives set for Lindsay Island in the Basin Plan, by using less water more effectively.
The project is likely to include:
- Berribee Regulator: a new, large structure which inundates around 3,700ha, and retains water on the floodplain for a longer period of inundation.
- Six smaller structures to manage water at other sites: Wallawalla East and West, which inundate over 900 ha; Crankhandle wetland complex & Crankhandle West, which inundate over 300 ha; Lindsay River South, which inundates 225 ha; and the North-west of Lindsay Island, which inundates almost 500 ha.The Berribee Regulator has been designed to simulate floods equivalent of up to 80,000 megalitres (ML) per day. The additional works are able to simulate floods above a 130,000 ML per scenario.
National Irrigators Council chief executive officer Tom Chesson said while the announcement was "light on details the NIC has long argued that the proposed works at Lindsay Island could produce excellent environmental outcomes using less water more efficiently.''
Mr Chesson said NIC is hoping that major announcements for an environmental works project for Menindee Lakes and the NSW Nimmie-Caira project were just around the corner.