High­lands wa­ter

Ir­ri­ga­tion se­cu­rity for lo­cal farm­ers

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - ROGER HAN­SON

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.

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