Entura and Tasmanian Irrigation win Australian Engineering Excellence Awards

Friday 9th September 2016

Specialist power and water consulting firm Entura and Tasmanian Irrigation won the Australian Engineering Excellence Awards (AEEA) Tasmania 2016 in the category ‘Control Systems, Networks, Information Processing and Telecommunications’ for the Meander Dam integrated water management system.

Presented during a gala event in Hobart last night, the AEEA Tasmania 2016 Awards seek to identify, recognise and reward outstanding achievement in the practice of engineering and service to the profession, promoting industry excellence across engineering projects and engineering professionals.

Designed, developed and delivered by Entura, the Meander Dam integrated water management system provides accurate, reliable and easy-to-use information to help Tasmanian Irrigation (TI) effectively manage its Meander Dam water storage and associated hydropower facility in northern Tasmania. The system allows TI to deliver certainty of irrigation supply to water users while also optimising power production, and ensuring dam safety.

“We’re delighted to have partnered with Entura to develop the Meander Dam integrated water management system and are thrilled about winning such a prestigious award,” said TI CEO Nicola Morris.

“The value created by the water management system was particularly evident during the 2015–16 irrigation season, in which the region experienced below-average rainfall that resulted in reduced inflows into Meander Dam and increased demand for water supply to irrigators.”

“We were able to match demand from predicted storage levels, fulfilling irrigator expectations and retaining sufficient storage capacity to be able to extend the delivery for an additional month. This ensured that irrigators were able to finish final crops and also maintain pasture growth for livestock and dairy activities.”

Meander Dam is the centrepiece of the Meander Valley Irrigation Scheme, one of the largest irrigation schemes in Tasmania. The dam was completed in 2007 and holds 43 000 megalitres of water, supplying five irrigation regions servicing pasture and cropping land.

“The Meander Dam integrated water management system is an information gathering and processing system, as well as an easy-to-interpret, customised decision-support platform for optimising management and control of an integrated irrigation and hydropower system,” explained Angus Swindon, Power and Water Director at Entura.

Powered by Entura’s own Ajenti™ Data Management System, the system harnesses real-time rainfall and flow monitoring data captured by a network of catchment telemetry, and integrates this information with short-term and long-term Bureau of Meteorology forecasts and a hydrological model of the catchment.

Via a user-friendly dashboard interface, Tasmanian Irrigation has an up-to-date picture of the dam’s status and the probability of various possible short-term and long-term scenarios of storage level and hydropower output.
Real-time information from water meters on pumps within the irrigation area is also brought into the system to give the operator a complete water balance in the area fed by the dam.

“Access to such robust and reliable information supports appropriate management decision making, such as whether and when to release water, and the extent and timing of hydropower operation,” said Ms Morris.

“Increased hydropower operation reaps a dual benefit from the water resource, helping to offset our operational costs, enabling greater delivery of service throughout Tasmania, benefitting not only the local community but the whole Tasmanian agricultural sector.”

Entura works with customers across the Asia-Pacific region and Africa to help them improve the safety and performance of their dams, irrigation schemes, pipelines and pumping stations and to deliver innovative data monitoring, management and analysis solutions.