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Tasmanian Irrigation has opened water sales to North West Tasmanian farmers for the $100 million upgrade of the Sassafras Wesley Vale Irrigation Scheme.

Landowners are able to contractually apply for water entitlements from 11 May until 17 June for the 9,200ML augmentation project, which will increase the scheme’s total summer capacity to 14,660ML.

If sufficient demand is recorded, farmers across Sassafras, Harford, Thirlstane, Moriarty, Wesley Vale, Northdown, Pardoe and East Devonport will be able to access this additional high-surety irrigation water.

Tasmanian Irrigation Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Kneebone, said this is a momentous day for North West Tasmania.

“We are incredibly thankful to the Tasmanian and Federal Governments, as well as landowners, for their financial commitment to this important project,” Mr Kneebone said.

“The unique public/private funding model has injected hundreds of millions of dollars into the Tasmanian economy, created thousands of jobs and enabled farmers around the state to invest, expand, diversify and value add.

“The Sassafras Wesley Vale Irrigation Scheme Augmentation is expected to create 120 direct and indirect jobs, and underpin $28.3 million in on-farm investment.”

Tasmanian Irrigation has also been working to optimise the design for the project and is delighted that new parameters to increase water trading flexibility, boost pipeline flows and reduce operational risk have been incorporated into the latest design.

“The next step will be to finalise the design based on actual demand determined during the Water Sales process, then submit the Business Case to the Tasmanian and Federal Governments, and seek all approvals and permits prior to construction commencing in later 2023,” Mr Kneebone said.

“Our focus is to be delivering this additional water to farmers in time for the 2025/26 season. Tasmanian Irrigation takes very seriously its responsibility to plan, design and construct new irrigation projects, as well as the ongoing delivery of water each season and management of irrigation infrastructure.”

Tasmanian Irrigation invites landowners to a series of Drop in Days at the Latrobe Memorial Hall from 10am – 2pm on 18 May, 25 May, 1 June, 8 June and 15 June to assist landowners with Water Sales application forms and answer questions.

Application forms and further information can be downloaded here.

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