Tasmanian Irrigation water management system a finalist for Australian Engineering Excellence Awards

Tasmanian Irrigation’s Meander Dam integrated water management system has been selected as a finalist for the Australian Engineering Excellence Awards (AEEA) Tasmania 2016.

Designed, developed and delivered by specialist power and water consulting firm Entura, the 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 being selected as a finalist for 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 producing dairy, poppies, cereals, pyrethrum, pasture seeds, potatoes, berries, vegetables and nuts.

“Entura’s solution incorporates a novel integration of inputs producing an easy-to-interpret, customised decision-support platform via a cloud-based service,” explained Angus Swindon, Power and Water Director at Entura. “Real-time rainfall and flow monitoring data is fed into the system via a network of catchment telemetry, and then combined 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 a dashboard to give operators a complete picture of water balance in the area serviced 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 valuable 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.”

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. TI’s system is a finalist in the “Control Systems, Networks, Information Processing and Telecommunications” category and winners will be announced at an awards evening on 8 September.

About Entura

Entura is one of the world’s most experienced specialist power and water consulting firms. As part of Hydro Tasmania, Australia’s largest renewable energy producer and water manager, we are backed by more than 100 years of creating energy and maintaining power and water assets.

Contributing to the development, operation and maintenance of water and renewable power schemes over their entire lifecycle has given us first-hand insights and a deep understanding of the real-life pressures of owning and operating assets, as has our experience in working closely with other asset owners to manage theirs. Our strength comes from an ability to partner with clients to deliver practical and commercially sound solutions across the whole lifecycle of power and water assets, helping them to manage risks and achieve valuable outcomes.

From strategy, planning, design and construction through to operation, maintenance, risk management and training, our full range of consulting services covers every aspect of major power and water projects.

We support governments, funding agencies and corporate clients across the Asia-Pacific region and Africa from offices in Australia, India and South Africa.

For more information visit www.entura.com.au

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