The Fingal region is one of the drier areas of the state with irrigated agricultural enterprises focusing on largely on fodder crops, fennel, potatoes, seed and poppy production. The main impediment to expansion of irrigation in the region is the limited availability of water and lack of security associated with supply during the drier summer months.
After much investigation a 12,600ML riparian delivery, South Esk River only, preferred option was established and presented for public consultation in September 2020. This larger scheme will support future demand in the region and allow for potential augmentation of the scheme to include the piped sections (such as St. Marys and Royal George) at a later point in time should there be sufficient demand and water available at that stage to do so. It is intended that the scheme will delivery water over a 150-day summer irrigation period nominally from 1 November to 31 March annually.
Development of the scheme is progressing with flora and fauna and transmission loss assessments in addition to initial geotechnical investigations conducted in late 2020 and flood modelling and heritage assessments are to be conducted in the coming weeks.
Support for the scheme continues with expressions of interest received lower in the South Esk catchment around Perth prior to the end of 2020.
Water sales are currently scheduled to commence in February 2021 once transmission losses in the South Esk River are more clearly defined.