Water sales launched for redesigned Tamar Irrigation Scheme

19 December 2023

Farmers in the Tamar Valley are being encouraged to seriously consider the value that irrigation can bring to their enterprises now and in the future with water sales opening today for a redesigned Tamar Irrigation Scheme.

Tasmanian Irrigation today released details of a new-look Tamar Scheme, redesigned to reflect current demand in the region after the first round of water sales failed to meet the necessary threshold for a much larger scheme.

The updated Tamar Irrigation Scheme is designed to deliver 13,500 ML of high-reliability irrigation water, supporting farmers in the Beaconsfield, Legana, Rowella, Hillwood, Pipers Brook and Pipers River areas in Northern Tasmania for $165 million.

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Tasmanian Irrigation Chief Executive Officer Andrew Kneebone said a strong result from water sales is essential for the project to proceed.

“The one thing farmers can do to help make the Tamar Scheme a reality is commit to purchasing water,” Mr Kneebone said.

“Developing a strong case for State and Commonwealth funding relies on strong irrigator support for the Scheme, shown by meeting the threshold for water sales. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to the Scheme and buy-in at the existing price.”

Mr Kneebone said that Tasmanian Irrigation has chosen to hold the water entitlement price at $2,450/ML for summer water to encourage more sales.

“We’ve consulted with the Tamar Irrigator Representative Committee and undertaken to hold the price at the existing level until the end of the water sales process. It will never be cheaper to buy water entitlements in this scheme than right now.”

Australian agricultural investor, developer, and manager, goFARM has recently commenced work on a 180-hectare vineyard in the Tamar Valley with the first 20 hectares completed this spring.

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“Securing high-reliability Tasmanian Irrigation water at good value provides us with further certainty and optionality as we develop our farmland projects in Tasmania,” said Joe Barlow, Head of Farmland Developments.

While Tasmanian Irrigation has endeavoured to maintain the original timeframes for delivery of the Tamar Irrigation Scheme, the need to redesign and run an additional water sales process has affected the project timeline. We now expect delivery of the first irrigation water in 2028.

Water sales will remain open until 29 February 2024.

Construction of the Tamar Irrigation Scheme would help deliver the Tasmanian Government’s goal to grow the farmgate value of the State’s agricultural sector to $10 billion by 2050.