North Esk Irrigation Scheme - Under Development

Requests for tenders for the design and construction of the 4685ML North Esk Irrigation Scheme have now been released to the pre-qualified contractors.  This, along with the recent applications for Development Approval lodged with the Launceston and Northern Midland Councils are the final steps toward being ready to construct the scheme in 2017/2018.

The North Esk Irrigation Scheme proposes to take water from the North Esk River at Watery Plains, Blessington during the winter and transfer it to a to-be-constructed storage at White Hills.  The 5,200ML “Dalness Dam” will be used to store scheme water for delivery during a 120-day irrigation season nominally from November through March each year.

The scheme is fully subscribed, with no further water being available for sale from Tasmanian Irrigation.  The scheme will deliver the purchased water to service landholders in White Hills, Evandale, Relbia and the Nile Road area.

Two pump stations are proposed for the scheme: The North Esk Watery Plains transfer pump station, and a boost pump at the Rocklands Dam to service the White Hills and Logan Road areas. The majority of the scheme’s water (85%) will be distributed via gravity.

Some 63km of pipelines are proposed varying in size from 710mm down to 160mm.  These pipes are all proposed to be of High Density Poly Ethylene (HDPE) and will be installed with a minimum of 700mm of cover from the top of the pipe.

Tasmanian Irrigation has also undertaken numerous supporting studies for the scheme and a summary of the permits and approvals is listed below:

Approval Status
North Esk Irrigation District Approved
5,000ML water licence from the North Esk Approved
Permit to take Threatened wildlife (decommission wombat burrows) Approved
Permit to take threatened fauna (misc. herbs) Approved
Quarry Permit – Development Application Approved
Division 3 Permit to construct a dam Approved
Referral under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) Not a Controlled Action
Mining Lease Pending
Aboriginal Heritage permit Pending
Development Application – Launceston City Council Pending
Development Application – Northern Midlands Council Pending
Forest Practices Plan Pending

A 5,000ML water licence from the North Esk has been approved, an Irrigation District for the North Esk Irrigation Scheme has been declared.

The current timeline for the project, pending government approval is:

June 2017 Tendering for design and construct contracts
September 2017 Conditional contract awards
Summer 2017/2018 Construction of the dam and pipeline infrastructure
Winter 2018 Commencement of dam filling
December 2018 Commencement of scheme operations


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