COHUNA goat farmers Sarah and Shayne Mostyn have been left shaking their heads after the automated pipeline that delivers irrigation water to their property malfunctioned twice in three days, flooding their property and leaving them with no feed or dry paddocks to put their goats.
The couple awoke Saturday morning expecting to find two paddocks irrigated but got the surprise of their life to find their whole farm inundated with water, in fact there was so much water on the property it was flooding out the front gate and running up hill.
The same thing occurred again Monday morning while the pipe was supposedly being ‘tested’.
The couple are frustrated and angry.
They have no option but to hand feed their goats for the next week while they wait for their paddocks to dry out and they are hoping their 4ha of lucerne will survive the inundation without any damage.
Their herd of six-month-old kids have also been affected.
‘‘The kids spent the night in a wet paddock which has left them dirty and distressed. Dairy goats are not as robust as other breeds, especially the babies, so we have had to drench them and we will be keeping a close eye on them to make sure they don’t get sick,’’ Mrs Mostyn said.
‘‘They are scheduled for an export order worth $20,000 which is a lot of money for a small business like ours.”
This is not the first time the couple has had trouble with this new system and while GMW staff have been understanding, the couple say it’s simply not good enough any more.
“There seems to be a lot of blaming going on but at the end of the day as paying water users, we don’t care whose fault it is, we just want a system that is reliable and works,’’ Mrs Mostyn said.
“It is meant to be set and forget but it is far from that at the moment, we have no confidence in it at all.”
The automated pipe was put in as part of the Connections program.
It went in two months behind schedule and has been plagued with problems since day one.
‘‘The initial outlet was placed on the old channel and kept blowing out,’’ Mrs Mostyn said.
After the fourth time, they built a new outlet.
‘‘We have had software problems which have sent 20ML surges down the channel which have blown out the outlet, we have had unreliable stock water delivery, the old channel site still remains unfenced and now we have been flooded twice in three days,’’ she said.
“We might only be small-scale farmers, but this still affects our business and has left us with no confidence in the system at all.’’
She said the old channel system may have been simple and manual, but it worked better than the new one.
‘‘Lots of farmers have had problems with water delivery through different Connection Projects and I am not sure why they keep rolling them out, when they keep getting things so wrong,’’ she said.
GMW customer operations general manager Scott Barber said the company had taken action and was continuing its investigations into the flooding.
‘‘On being alerted to the issue on Saturday, March 3, GMW had a supervisor and field officer attend the property and meet with our customers,’’ he said.
‘‘They assisted in helping to drain excess water, which had largely dissipated by Monday, March 5, when unfortunately a second inundation took place, caused by a possible infrastructure issue. This also forms part of our investigation.’’
Mr Barber said GMW staff were continuing to monitor the situation closely and working to rectify any fault.
‘‘GMW regrets any issues caused to our customers and will work with them as quickly as possible to resolve the matter,’’ he said.
‘‘Where a customer believes they have suffered loss, GMW has a fair and transparent claims process.’’