A new irrigation scheme built around the North Esk River, in the pipeline since 2014, was officially launched on Monday, boosting water security for 54 landholders in the important agricultural region.
Delivering water to farms in the White Hills, Evandale, Relbia and Nile Road area, the scheme includes 59 kilometres of pipeline, a pumping station, and the 5580-megalitre Rocklands Dam.
It marks the fourth of five second-tranche schemes to be rolled out by Tasmanian Irrigation, after the Southern Highlands, Duck and Swan schemes. Another in Scottsdale is under construction.
The schemes are a joint initiative of federal and state governments in collaboration with irrigators - who contributed $7.02 million to the $30.4 million North Esk project.
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Charlie Watson, a retired farmer from White Hills, said it had been "a long run" with plenty of meetings and local input, but the benefits were already visible with new vineyards and potential for new crops.
"There's already two vineyards that have gone in in the last 12 months," Mr Watson said. "And I know of at least one more going in - that's without the other crops or berry crops that might be grown."
Construction began on the scheme in late 2017. It has been in operation since January and is fully subscribed.
Under the scheme, water is harvested from the North Esk River at Watery Plains, then transferred to Rocklands Dam at White Hills by an eight-kilometre pipeline.
Primary Industries Minister Guy Barnett said access to the irrigation water would allow farmers to consider new enterprises, value-add to existing operations and expand production to meet growing demand for Tasmanian produce.
"The completion of this scheme is an outstanding example of the benefits that can be provided to the community when all levels of government and farmers work together, and I congratulate Tasmanian Irrigation and all involved in its construction," Mr Barnett said.
Mr Barnett added the state government would continue to work with federal counterparts, communities and agribusiness to develop the third tranche of irrigation schemes which, if fully implemented, could bring an additional 10 projects.
Federal Agriculture and Water Minister David Littleproud said the story of agriculture was "just add water".
"And today an extra 5200 megalitres goes in... it's creating jobs, but it's bringing our young people home," Mr Littleproud said. "This is an investment in Tasmania, but importantly an investment in our nation's young people in regional and rural Australia."
"The Tasmanian government... has been leading the nation in terms of taking up the National Water Infrastructure Fund."
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