Greater South East Irrigation Scheme – Preferred Option Design Launched


An innovative design to improve reliability and deliver additional high-surety irrigation water to the highly productive south-east region has today been unveiled by Tasmanian Irrigation.

The Preferred Option Design for the 41,000-megalitre Greater South East Irrigation Scheme was launched for public consultation under a pivot irrigator at Cambridge, celebrating another important milestone for the largest-ever irrigation project in Tasmania.

The existing South East Stages One, Two and Three Irrigation Schemes will be amalgamated as part of this $408 million project, and 206km of new pipeline and two new pump stations will be constructed to deliver water to existing and new irrigators around Gretna, Jordan River Valley, Brighton, Cambridge, Richmond, Tea Tree, Colebrook, Campania, Sorell, Forcett, and Pawleena.

Tasmanian Irrigation Chief Executive Officer Andrew Kneebone said this exciting project had involved thousands of hours of work by project managers, engineers, planners and hydrologists, in consultation with local irrigators, to determine the best water supply and delivery solutions.

“This is a region recognised for world-class berries, vineyards, orchards, pasture, vegetable crops, nuts and dairy that has undergone massive expansion since Tasmanian Irrigation began delivering irrigation water to properties in the mid-1980s,” Mr Kneebone said.

“To underpin further growth and diversification, it has been long known that a new water supply option had to be secured to boost reliability and enable additional fit-for-purpose water to flow.

“This launch of the Preferred Option Design for the Greater South East Irrigation Scheme is a truly remarkable milestone. This project is expected to create 474 direct and in-direct jobs and provide significant economic benefit to the State through increased agricultural production and on-farm investment.”

Mr Kneebone sincerely thanked the Australian Government for $4.7 million and the Tasmanian Government for $1.55 million to develop this proposal and progress planning toward Business Case.

More than 250 landowners currently access water from three Tasmanian Irrigation South East Irrigation Schemes, which were commissioned in 1986 (South East Stage One); 1992 (South East Stage Two) and 2015 (South East Stage Three). The second and third stages rely on treated water from TasWater for irrigation purposes, which has rising competing pressures for supply and a high degree of uncertainty of supply during dry seasons.

The Preferred Option Design involves water being sourced from Lake Meadowbank via two pump stations, a rising main being constructed over Back Bluff to an elevated tank and a long falling mainline to the current Tea Tree pump station to supply the existing Stages Two and Three.

The south-east pipe work will be extended to just below Craigbourne Dam to service the existing Stage One irrigators in the Coal River Valley, as well as new demand in the area. New pipelines will also be constructed to service Gretna, Elderslie and Broadmarsh, and provide additional water to Stages Two and Three.

The Preferred Option Design is now open for feedback. Water Sales, when landowners can contractually apply for water entitlements, are expected to be launched in early August.

More information about the Preferred Option Design can be found at

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