The Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme will improve water storage and distribution through a new dam, pipeline and infrastructure. This will allow for the movement and trading of water between farms, to ensure water is optimised productively. It will be owned and operated by the region’s growers.
The scheme follows on from the $3.6 million first stage Water for Food Southern Forests Water Futures project, which investigated new water supply options and increasing water availability to meet productivity expansion plans for the Southern Forests region.
The proposed scheme will comprise a 15GL dam located on Record Brook and a 250km pipeline distribution network that will supply water to irrigators who have purchased a water entitlement for the scheme.
Water for the scheme will be of high quality and reliability and will be supplied from peak winter flows in the Donnelly River. The scheme will be designed to ensure that environmental flows within the catchment are retained.
The scheme will be owned and operated by the Southern Forests Irrigation Cooperative Ltd and all scheme water users will be members of the cooperative. Membership will allow for efficient buying, selling and trading of water between properties.
Funds for the $80 million scheme have been committed from three sources: $19 million by the State government, over $10 million paid by local growers to be part of the scheme, and the almost $40 million by the Federal government’s National Water Infrastructure Fund. The scheme’s design can be scaled and delivered in stages to accommodate available funding.
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