Muckatah receives its community drain

By Country News

Muckatah residents rejoiced after the opening of a community drain last month as part of a 20-year drainage program.

Naring dairy farmer Bryan Shannon lobbied politicians to put the drain back on the agenda after the program which funded community drains was scaled back during the millennium drought.

Mr Shannon said the drain meant paddocks were no longer waterlogged.

“It’s hard to believe now with things being so dry but I can tell you that my paddocks can be covered in a metre of water,” Mr Shannon said.

“Instead of having to physically pump the water off the farm, it will now just naturally drain away as it falls and won’t cause us any problems.''

Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed said she was delighted to see her campaigning pay off and the drain come to fruition in her electorate.

“It’s very rewarding to see this very important drain now finished.

“I remember standing in Bryan Shannon’s paddock and listening to his stories about ruined crops because the water just sat on his paddocks with no capacity to drain away,” Ms Sheed said.

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority chief executive Chris Norman said the community needed to be able to drain water off the land so pastures could continue to grow.

“While it looks dry now, there’s a lot of evidence that we’re going to get intense summer rainfall events, which means effective drainage is even more important,” Mr Norman said.

The drain has been designed to hold rain water in a sub-catchment until there is available outfall.

The water then flows away, only sitting on farmers’ paddocks for a couple weeks rather than three months.

Goulburn-Murray Water representative Carolyn Nigro congratulated the group and said it was the first drain of its kind since funding had again become available.

“They’ve been very proactive to make sure they were first cab off the rank when the renewed drainage program started up,” Ms Nigro said.

Agriculture Victoria's Rebecca Pike said the design of the drain’s path was diverted in order to protect culturally significant scar trees and remnant vegetation.

“We have to communicate with the landowners and make sure the work fits their needs as well as the satisfying the cultural, engineering and environmental requirements,” Ms Pike said.