Scheme just adds water

ONE of Tasmania’s largest irrigation projects, the $290 million Tamar Irrigation Scheme, which will incorporate 240km of pipeline and five pump stations, has taken a step forward with the launch of the Preferred Option Design.

It will service an area of 89,000 hectares spanning Westwood, Legana, Beaconsfield, Rowella, Hillwood, Pipers River, Lilydale and Pipers Brook.

The Preferred Option Design, which should provide an economic benefit to Tasmania of $589 million, is set to deliver 24,500 megalitres of high-surety irrigation water to the Tamar Valley.

Water sales are expected to start in May. Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association fully supports the project which is expected to be operational in 2025-26, to create 411 full-time jobs and 205 indirect jobs.

“After an extensive consultation process by Tasmanian Irrigation it is exciting to be closer to having this system operating for the Tamar Valley landowners. This will give the local farmers and communities the opportunity to build drought resilience and with increased opportunity, grow agriculture in the region,” TFGA president Marcus McShane said.

“TFGA has supported this Federal, State Government and private partnership investment in water development and it has proved to be successful and is invigorating communities throughout the state.
“It is important that this investment continues and TFGA will be actively lobbying for continued support leading into the Federal election.”

Tasmanian Irrigation chief executive Officer Andrew Kneebone said this project was first envisioned to be an 8,000 megalitre scheme.

“Tasmanian Irrigation has worked closely with the Tamar Irrigator Representative Committee and Tamar Valley landowners to design a scheme that meets the growing demand for this reliable and fit-for-purpose water,” Mr Kneebone said.

“Additional Expressions of Interest have been received during the extensive consultation and education phases, with many landowners planning new agricultural businesses or expanding existing operations across dairy, broadacre crops, livestock, seed crops, stone fruit, berries and wine grapes.

“Tasmanian Irrigation looks forward to receiving feedback from landowners about this Preferred Option Design before we progress to Water Sales by May, when landowners will have an opportunity to contractually apply for Water Entitlements.”

Primary Industries and Water Minister Guy Barnett said additional on-farm investment is already being planned, with some farmers planning to double the area planted to berries and expand operations across the dairy, fruit, vineyard, livestock and cropping sectors in the region.

“This project is one of the many Tranche Three irrigation schemes being developed by Tasmanian Irrigation,” Mr Barnett said.

The Tamar Preferred Option Design is based on delivering a peak flow rate of 137 megalitres per day for a 180- day delivery period over summer, with a water entitlement price proposed at $2,450 per megalitre.

Winter water will also be available at $1,450 per megalitre. Water will be sourced from the Trevallyn Dam, which is filled via the South Esk River catchment, one of Tasmania’s largest catchment areas.

TI’s water requirements will be 137 megalitres per day during summer months and 55 megalitres per day during winter, out of the total dam capacity of 11,000 megalitres.

TI invites all landowners to attend the two irrigator meetings to learn more and provide feedback about the Tamar Irrigation Scheme Preferred Option Design, which will be held on Tuesday March 29 at the Hillwood War Memorial Hall from 12.30pm–2.30pm; and Wednesday March 30 at the Exeter Community Hub from 12.30pm to 2.30pm. The Tasmanian Irrigation website can be found here