CORN CROP: Problems with his irrigation system have stymied Boort's Scott Anderson from growing corn, which requires a significant amount of water. Encouraged by the new system, he first planted a crop in 2013.

Continuing pipe pain for Boort producer

Mr Anderson said Goulburn Murray Water (GMW) replaced a four kilometre spur channel on his sheep and cropping property with piping.

Six months after installation, the pipe started to split, affecting an area of about 200 hectares.  “For six months, it worked like an absolute dream, but then the pipe started splitting.”

“It went on and on - it started with one spilt, then two and I eventually got up to about seven in one hit. It just saps everything out of you.”

He said plans to double crop his property had been abandoned. “I was doing corn into summer, I was watering all year around, virtually, but I just can’t afford to risk doing a summer crop now.”

He said he was initially told risers and valves needed to be installed in the system, but the pipe continued to split. “I got in contact with GMW seeking help and I feel I have been let down terribly by them, they are just not interested. I can’t even have a conversation with them.” He said GMW’s response was ‘it’s your problem, fix it yourself. But I am a good customer, I put out a decent amount of water, my bills are around 80 grand a year. I am never, ever late in my payments, but I couldn’t even get a meeting with them.”

Unlike electricity or telecommunications providers, farmers couldn’t “go to the next water bloke – so we have to lump it. At least sit at the table and have a discussion and try and solve it, whether they pitch in any money in or not.”

Sheep and cropping producer, Greg Whinfield, west of Macorna, said there had been 250 holes in three kilometres of piping, since it had been installed. “We can’t use the system any more,” Mr Whinfield said.