On 10 March 2020, TI released the Preferred Option for the Don Irrigation Scheme. The preferred option is of a 4,750ML irrigation scheme in the NW of Tasmania covering an area from West Kentish north through to Don Heads. Commencement of construction is scheduled for the first half of 2021 with scheme water available for irrigators for the 2022/23 irrigation season. This includes Local Government approval for municipalities, Irrigation District Application, Flora and Fauna Permits, Aboriginal and Historical Heritage Permits, EPBC referral and Easement applications (pipelines excluded).
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The Don Irrigation Scheme (DON) is planned to deliver 4,750ML pa of high reliability irrigation water into the Don, Forth, Barrington and Sheffield districts.

Originally proposed to be a smaller 3,000ML scheme providing water to the Don and Forth area, Tasmanian Irrigation (TI) extended the scheme area further south following a successful EOI process that was requested by local Farmers from the Sheffield and West Kentish region. The scheme once constructed will provide water to some of the best land in the State. The area is famous for its cropping and further to the south for its dairy enterprises.

The project is in the approvals phase after the preferred option was launched at the Lower Barrington Town Hall on 10 March 2020. The Forth River catchment provides the 95% reliability TI schemes are required to achieve and is regarded as the best water source in the area. Scheme design includes a pump station on Lake Barrington and a second pump station downstream of Paloona Dam at Forthside. No storage dams are planned and the pump stations will pump to balance tanks with distribution to the irrigators via 60km of distribution pipeline. A 180 day summer irrigation season is proposed, winter delivery could also be available given adequate demand from the irrigators. The peak flow rate for the scheme is 41.7ML/day.

TI are currently finalising the approvals phase. Due to the Cornavirus pandemic TI will minimise direct contact with individual landowners and will not be meeting with any groups of landowners. The situation is likely to change and TI will provide updates as required to landowners through email, letters or by phone.

Updated on 24th January 2021