Scottsdale farmers give new irrigation scheme the thumbs-up
Farmers in the Scottsdale district have shown strong interest in buying water allocations in the Scottsdale Irrigation Scheme, scheduled for construction next year.
There was standing room only at this week’s launch of water sales at the Scottsdale RSL, with some farmers already armed with their chequebooks.
Within the next four weeks, scheme developer Tasmanian Irrigation has to secure commitments for 6450 megalitres (ML) of water in the scheme, which is 75 per cent of its proposed built-in capacity of 8600 ML.
“We had 75 farmers at the meeting, which is a great roll-up. The mood was very positive. They have been waiting 15 years for this. I am confident they will more than meet the target,” TI chief executive Chris Oldfield said today.
“Back in 2011, we had expressions of interest for 11,650 ML from 90 farmers, so the demand is definitely still there.”
The Tasmanian Government this month approved the business case for the Scottsdale scheme, which requires $12 million of private investment in order to attract $34 million from the state and Australian governments.
The state government has already committed $30 million to the next tranche of five irrigation schemes, which includes Scottsdale. The Australian Government has just included the five schemes in its preferred options for national infrastructure spending.
The Scottsdale water costs $1400/ML with 10 ML the minimum allocation. Entitlements include an irrigation right, a zone flow delivery right and a connection agreement.
If local landowners do not meet the 6450 ML target, outside investors may be able to buy.
The scheme uses water from Camden Rivulet on the Sidling Range that would be pumped to farmland as far away as Bridport and Waterhouse. Those farms are involved in dairying, livestock, potatoes, poppies and vegetables.
The scheme’s project manager, Andy Corbould, said that a go-ahead would provide a huge fillip to the north-eastern economy, hard hit by the contraction of forestry and other factory closures.
“Buying the entitlement is only the start,” he said. “It's estimated that irrigators will be spending an additional $14 million on their own infrastructure on the farm. That will have benefits for the wider economy.”
The water sales period closes on Wednesday, 26 November. TI staff will be available at the Scottsdale library every Tuesday or at other times by appointment until then.
Buyers must complete an application form and pay a two per cent deposit for their entitlement before that date.
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