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Author
Hallows, Peter J.
Title
The history of irrigation in south-eastern Australia
In
19th Australasian engineering heritage conference: putting water to work: steam power, river navigation and water supply
Editors
Engineers Australia and Engineering Heritage Australia
Imprint
Engineering Heritage Australia, Barton, A.C.T., 2017, pp. 173-96
ISBN/ISSN
9781922107923
Url
https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=384633183718485;res=IELENG
Subject
History of Applied Sciences Engineering and Technology
Abstract

This paper charts the development of irrigation in south-eastern Australia from the first privately developed schemes through the early expansionary days of dam and channel construction by State government agencies and the River Murray Commission. In the current mature phase, the focus is on increasing the amount of water available for environmental purposes by increasing distribution efficiency, reducing channel losses, and Government purchases of water entitlements. The first significant irrigation developments took place mainly in Victoria, starting in areas possessing the best combinations of suitable soils and availability of water - the Goulburn Valley and Mildura and Renmark areas. From these beginnings, irrigation spread further downstream in South Australia, upstream along the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers, and eventually into the tributary valleys of the Darling River. The contribution of the Chaffey brothers is celebrated, and consideration is given to some of the political and socio-economic influences on development, which was rapid during times of high economic activity and after the two World Wars (for soldier settlement) and slowed almost to a halt during the two great depressions of the 1890s and 1930s and the World Wars. Finally, consideration is given to the situation in the 21st Century, in which there has been a significant change in emphasis from the gung ho policies of the previous century to ones that take account of and ameliorate the environmental effects of irrigation.

Source
cohn 2018

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  • Engineers Australia and Engineering Heritage Australia (eds), 19th Australasian engineering heritage conference: putting water to work: steam power, river navigation and water supply, Engineers Australia, Barton, A.C.T., 2017, 536 pp. Details