Don Irrigation project delivers the goods

03 January 2024

Construction of the 54 km Don Irrigation Scheme pipeline wrapped up late last year and is now delivering water to the local community. The scheme will help farmers on the north-west coast of Tasmania by providing essential water for the irrigation season.

The project also included the construction of:

  • 2 balance tanks and 1 break-pressure tank to gravity feed the new irrigation distribution network
  • 67 new property outlets
  • 3 pump stations

The stations will pump water to the tanks with distribution to the irrigators via the pipeline. This will deliver 4,750 megalitres (ML) of water in each summer and winter irrigation season to farmers in the Don, Forth, Barrington and Sheffield areas.

Access to the pipeline gives farmers increased water security. This provides them with the confidence to expand high-value agriculture such as vegetables, berries and dairy. It will also increase drought resilience and help farms to continue to adapt to climate change.

The scheme has seen 60 local construction jobs created, and an expected 48 ongoing jobs both directly and indirectly. These 48 jobs will be on-farm and in downstream processing and handling, and in providing technical support services.

A crane in bushland helping with construction of the project.

Aerial view of Don Irrigation Scheme construction. Picture courtesy of Tasmanian Irrigation.

During construction, the Don Irrigation Scheme remained committed to environmental sustainability. Workers placed a strong focus on minimising environmental impacts. This included protecting local plants, animals and vegetation communities as well as waterways, soil and biodiversity.

The project is also subject to the Farm Water Access Planning Framework. This framework provides clear guidelines for irrigation water use.

The $54.4 million project was jointly funded through the National Water Grid Fund ($26.3 million), the Tasmanian Government ($14.8 million) and other stakeholders ($13.3 million).

The Don Irrigation Scheme is part of the Pipeline to Prosperity Tranche 3 project. This project also features a 3,000 megalitre delivery network at Don to provide water to Forthside, Forth, Lillico and Don and a 1,750 megalitre Barrington network that will service the area from West Kentish to Melrose.

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