Features, News, Water

New South Australian irrigation investment scheme

The South Australian Government has announced an $11 million investment to upgrade sections of two major pipelines and a pump station to support growth in the Barossa Valley’s wine industries by delivering an additional three gigalitres of irrigation water to the region’s vineyards.

SA Water will complete the upgrades which will enable more raw water to be moved from the River Murray and Warren Reservoir to the Barossa Infrastructure Limited (BIL) water transportation scheme.

The scheme was established in 2000 and supplies approximately 300 customers across the Barossa Valley, to ensure the consistent production of high-quality grapes. BIL’s network of 189km of underground pipelines and four booster pump stations then distributes the irrigation water over an area of 450km².

Increasing the BIL scheme’s capacity to 11 GL per annum will create 17 new jobs over the 12-month construction period, with another 84 permanent vineyard jobs and 90 roles in wine production expected to follow.

Barossa Infrastructure Limited General Manager, Paul Shanks, said, “BIL is a great example of what can be achieved by private investment, government and utilities working together.

“The interest in increased amounts of irrigation water has far exceeded our forecasts, which is a strong sign of the growth potential within the Barossa Valley.

“The additional three gigalitres of irrigation water is significant and will drought proof many vineyards, and create capacity for new plantings.

BIL will also contribute $7.4 million toward the capital costs of this upgrade and spend a further $13 million upgrading its own infrastructure.

The increased capacity is expected to be available by the end of 2018.

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