Scottsdale Irrigation Scheme - Under Development

The Scottsdale Irrigation Scheme passed a significant milestone after local irrigators and the Dorset Council were able to meet the 75 per cent water sales threshold, required for the scheme to proceed to the next stage.
In November, the council voted unanimously to invest in a 1250 megalitre (ML) water allocation in the 8600 ML scheme. That has ticked a significant box required to get the project across the start line.
“It is a strong expression of confidence in the future of farming in the north-east,” TI acting chief executive Luke Curtain said. “It also underpins market confidence in the water trading system that has developed with the irrigation roll-out over the years.”
TI set a 75 per cent threshold of 6450 ML for the scheme to proceed. The scheme will cover an area of about 17,000 ha between Springfield and Waterhouse. The original scheme was redesigned to extend the main gravity-fed pipeline from North Scottsdale to Waterhouse.
Mr Curtain said the change was well received and secured significant additional water sales in the Waterhouse area. These sales, together with additional second-round sales and the Dorset Council investment, secured the project reaching the water sales threshold.
TI is now completing the scheme redesign and confirming outlet locations. Landowners will be notified about the acceptance of their applications before the end of the month.
TI will now prepare a revised business case for submission to the Tasmanian and Australian governments for approval. Following this, TI will focus on other milestones to bring the project to being "shovel-ready". This includes consulting with landowners, completing the environmental and heritage approvals process, and finalising construction tenders.
Subject to approval of the revised Business Case, tenders for the two-year construction project should be called in the second half of next year with water planned to be ready for the start of the 2018/19 summer irrigation season.

 

Background

The scheme design comprises of a dam on Camden Rivulet, a tributary of the St Patrick's River, to store winter flows. In the summer, water would be pumped via a 7km pipeline over the Sidling Range and then down by gravity through a mini-hydro station, to the existing Headquarters Road dam. Water allocated to this scheme would flow through an 81 km underground pipeline around Scottsdale and on to the Waterhouse area. There would also be direct releases to boost flows in the Great Forester River, Hurst Creek and Brid River for direct take.

The SIS business case was developed on the basis of the October 2010 survey in which 90 landowner expressed interest in purchasing a total of 11,600ML of water. Due to limitations of dam capacity and available water supply, a scheme was designed which would deliver 8,600ML per season with 95% average reliability. The proposed Scottsdale Irrigation Scheme comprises of the entire Great Forester and Brid River catchments, as well as parts of Boobyalla, Tomahawk and Little Forester River catchments. This 94,000ha area includes two distinct sub-regions. The drier northern sub-region, extending along the coastal plains and adjoining lowlands between Bridport and Waterhouse differs significantly from the wetter and more fertile southern sub-region, which extends along the inland hills and valleys from Springfield to Forester. Current irrigation is primarily applied to pastures, mainly dairy and some livestock finishing, with the remaining water used for cropping (potatoes, poppies and fresh vegetables). The potential irrigable area of this region is 17,366ha of which only 4,185 or 25% is currently under irrigation. In completing the business case Tasmanian Irrigation has completed a number of preliminary feasibility studies including preliminary design and cost estimates, hydrology, geology and geotechnical assessments. TI also has briefed key stakeholders including Dorset and Launceston Councils, Ben Lomond Water, dam site landowners and the Tasmanian Conservation Trust.

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