Tasmanian Irrigation has announced that it will extend the summer irrigation season for several schemes in response to pressures on farmers across the state.

Tasmanian Irrigation’s CEO, Andrew Kneebone, said that the company has listened to farmers over recent months and is closely watching weather conditions.

“It’s been a particularly tough year in terms of rainfall. We had several schemes asking us to start the summer irrigation season early because winter and early spring were dry.

“Over summer we’ve had steady demand for water due to the absence of rain and an increase in the number of hot days. The outlook from April to June is for below average rainfall in some parts of the state, and above average temperatures across the board.

“We know how much pressure these conditions put on farmers so where we can, we take action to support them by extending summer irrigation seasons. We know these extensions will help finish crops like broccolini and late potatoes and keep grass cover for dairy farms.”

Mr Kneebone said that the summer season has been extended for 12 schemes, including the recently commissioned Don Irrigation Scheme.

“The value of highly reliable irrigation water to Tasmania’s agricultural sector is very clear during dry years like this one. Tasmanian Irrigation delivers water at 95 per cent reliability across all our schemes.

“The level of demand in a scheme such as Don validates the decision to invest in its construction. And the state reaps rewards through production of water-enabled, higher value farming activities and the associated jobs growth and economic benefit.”

Mr Kneebone said that extending an irrigation season is not always possible.

“From scheme to scheme there will be local conditions that prevent this from happening. For example, this year we have essential work to undertake on augmentation of the Greater Meander Scheme as soon as the season closes.

“And on the Don scheme, the funding arrangements and scheme design mean that we will not be able to extend the summer season in future years. So that’s a one-off for 2024.

“Across the portfolio of schemes, there’s always a balance to be achieved between meeting demand that exists right now and ensuring that we are able to meet future supply commitments, especially in a changing climate.”

Tasmanian Irrigation said that the majority of the season extensions will run until 30 April.

Extended summer irrigation seasons are in effect for following schemes:

  • Dial Blythe
  • Don
  • Great Forester
  • Kindred North Motton
  • Lower South Esk
  • North Esk
  • Scottsdale
  • Southern Highlands
  • Swan Valley
  • Upper Ringarooma
  • Whitemore
  • Winnaleah

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