HYDRO Tasmania appears to have backed down in negotiations with Derwent Valley farmers over timing and compensation surrounding the lowering of Meadowbank Lake.
Hydro has increased its offer of compensation, as well as delaying the projected works by a year.
Hydro had planned to lower the level of Meadowbank Lake by two meters over a 10-week period in February 2022 while maintenance work on the Meadowbank Dam crest gates was performed, followed by a two-week period where the dam would drop a further four meters to test the gates.
The process would be repeated a second time in February 2023.
Farmers who irrigate from the Meadowbank Lake water supply had met with Hydro several times over the past twelve months to discuss more beneficial arrangements, namely negotiating appropriate compensation.
Meetings were also held between irrigators and the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment over the year, who had agreed to mediate the negotiations between the two parties, though they have distanced themselves from resolving the matter, stating it was “a Hydro matter”.
In the latest development, Hydro have increased their offer to compensate 50 per cent of the expenses irrigators would have incurred to make the necessary modifications to their pumping equipment, and to delay the start of construction until February 2023.
TFGA CEO John McKew said the offer was far closer to the expectations of the irrigators in the region, though the offer was yet to be accepted.
“I can’t speak on behalf of the irrigators in the region, but the offer from Hydro is certainly heading the right direction,” Mr McKew said.
“Delaying the start of the construction was always going to have to happen. It’s far too late to start now.”
Hydro Tasmania was contacted for a response.