Irrigation security for local farmers
WATER for irrigation is flowing for growers in the drylands of the Central Highlands with the opening of the $31 million Southern Highlands Irrigation Scheme.
Tasmanian Irrigation chief executive Nicola Morris said the scheme season had opened on November 1.
“This is good timing considering the dry conditions in the South and on the East Coast,” Ms Morris said.
The scheme is to deliver 7415ML of irrigation water across 8000ha to 27 properties from Southernfield Dam near Bothwell.
“We already have 5000ML in the dam and still expecting more inflow, along with water use,” Ms Morris said.
“We are comfortable with the level in the dam at this point to provide water to irrigators.”
SHIS irrigators committee chairman Richard Hallett, who farms at Hollow Tree, said irrigators in the scheme had already spent $8 million in water purchases, and in preparation for the first year another $4 million in on-farm infrastructure.
Mr Hallett said with secure water supply for irrigation, farmers could plan their pro- duction and also look into growing higher-value horticultural crops.
Water from the Shannon River is to be stored in a dam at Southernfield and distributed to irrigators via a 58km pipeline extending from Waddamana Rd south to Hollow Tree. The summer delivery period would be 120 days.