A consortium of water corporations have held the inaugural Rural Water Innovation Awards, with Victorian Water Minister praising the four winners innovation and productivity gains.


"The four winners have all used new and innovative methods to achieve water volume savings, increased productivity and return on investment," Mr Walsh said.


"Global demand for food and fibre is rising steadily and rural water users also face the challenge of a variable climate and competition.


"We need to start producing more food and fibre with less water as we work towards the Government's goal of doubling production over the next 20 years. Innovations in water use are vital to increase production and efficiency," Mr Walsh said.


The Rural Water Innovation Awards are a joint initiative of Southern Rural Water (SRW), Lower Murray Water (LMW) and Goulburn-Murray Water (G-MW) together with the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) and the Department of Primary Industries (DPI).


The inaugural winners are:

Surface water user - Phillip Wratten of Dream-Time Wholesale Nursery at Heath Hill for using the latest innovative systems to grow high quality trees.


Irrigation district water user - Ross and Jo Allen of Boisdale for the evolution of their 1,000 acre property to a highly efficient water use and minimal labour operation.


Groundwater user - David and Michele Sheward of Kanumbra, for development of their 4.5 acre olive grove by the installation of self-watering underground pressurised micro-spray system.


Outstanding excellence in innovation - Col Beasy of Thurla Farms, a fish farming enterprise near Red Cliffs for an agriculture/aquaculture property that demonstrates efficient water reuse.