Supporting more efficient irrigation in Tasmania
Under a National Partnership Agreement the Australian Government has committed to provide up to $140 million towards the development of modern and efficient irrigation in Tasmania. This commitment will assist Tasmania to ensure that the water resources within its irrigation sector are used in a sustainable and efficient manner. The Tasmanian Government has also committed funding of up to $80 million from its Water Infrastructure Fund.
The 'Implementation Plan for Supporting More Efficient Irrigation in Tasmania' under the National Partnership Agreement sets out the Conditions of Australian Government investment in Tasmanian irrigation projects.
The Australian Government provided $14.8 million to Tasmania in November 2009, to contribute to the development of comprehensive project plans and business cases for a number of proposed irrigation schemes in Tasmania. This includes undertaking detailed environmental, economic, social and engineering assessments of each proposed irrigation development.
As part of the due diligence assessment process, the Australian Government carefully assesses each business case submitted for funding to ensure it is technically feasible and financially viable and complies with both Tasmanian and Australian Government environmental legislation.
The development of the projects is being managed by Tasmanian Irrigation Pty Ltd, which is a Tasmanian Government owned company.
The Australian Government commitment included $4.2 million to fund the CSIRO Tasmania Sustainable Yields Project. The findings of this project will underpin the future planning and sustainable management of Tasmania's water resources. The report was released on 18 January 2010.
The Australian Government has approved funding for six irrigation proposals submitted by Tasmania:
- Headquarters Road Dam Irrigation Scheme (completed December 2011)
- Whitemore Irrigation Scheme (completed December 2011)
- Sassafras-Wesley Vale Irrigation Scheme (completed December 2011)
- Winnaleah Irrigation Scheme Augmentation (completed June 2012)
- Lower South Esk Irrigation Scheme
- Midlands Water Scheme
- Kindred North Motton Irrigation Scheme
- Upper Ringarooma Irrigation Scheme
- South East Irrigation Scheme
The commitment's primary aim is to expand agricultural production in each region through the provision of water with a reliability of greater than 95%. This provides the opportunity for sustainable growth in agricultural production and jobs in the region. The project's secondary aim is to mitigate against the impacts of drought and climate change in each region.
A funding requirement for schemes is that individual water users in the scheme develop and implement farm Water Access Plans, ensuring that the intended application of irrigation water is sustainable.