TUESDAY'S official opening of the $14.8 million Lower South Esk Irrigation Scheme would prove to be a boon for farmers, Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association chief executive Jan Davis said.
Ms Davis said that the TFGA and Northern Tasmanian farmers welcomed what was another milestone in the implementation of major irrigation schemes across Tasmania.
"Reliable supplies of water are key to the continued expansion of agriculture in Tasmania and the Lower South Esk Irrigation Scheme has been completed in time to deliver water for the start of the coming irrigation season," Ms Davis said.
"The scheme will open a range of new opportunities for farmers in the Northern Midlands area from Longford to Conara.
"Farmers have recognised this, and they have invested more than $6.2 million of their own money to buy water from the scheme."
The scheme was fully subscribed and will provide summer water at 95 per cent surety.
The scheme's 6000 megalitre Milford Dam, near Conara, will hold water from the South Esk River and this will be piped across an irrigable area of more than 15,400 hectares.
The Lower South Esk Irrigation Scheme is the fifth project to be completed under a statewide irrigation development program.
The schemes are being jointly funded by farmers in partnership with the state and federal governments.
The plan is to increase the area of irrigated farmland in Tasmania by around 40 per cent over the next few years.
Ms Davis said that agriculture was one of the key economic drivers for the state.
Investment in new irrigation infrastructure would underpin continued expansion and growth of Tasmania's agricultural sector and deliver resilient rural communities and jobs growth for decades to come, she said.