The South East Stage One Irrigation Scheme supplies water to horticultural, viticultural, orchard and other high-value uses in the Coal River District, which extends along the Coal River Valley to Richmond. The scheme has been the catalyst for the development of a range of agricultural enterprises in the region, which have brought significant employment and economic benefits to an area considered one of the driest in the State.
The 12,500 ML Craigbourne Dam is the focus for this stage of the South East Scheme. It is also used to mitigate floods in the valley. The dam collects water from the Coal River and Craigbourne Creek. The water is released into the lower reaches of the Coal River. Water in the river is also picked further downstream up to supply Stage Two of the scheme.