Barossa Valley irrigation project seeks to expand
October 4, 2018
A vineyard irrigation project that set out to reduce the reliance on the River Murray is expanding and could soon provide enough water for the entire western Barossa Valley.
The $21.4 million Gawler Water Reuse Scheme is a public-private partnership between Light Regional Council and Bunyip Water, which was commissioned on September 30, 2016.
The project in South Australia centres around 43 km of pipes linking the Gawler River, a series of dams to serve foundation customers’ existing irrigation areas, which are Light Regional Council’s reserves in Hewett and Seppeltsfield Wine’s vineyards in the western Barossa Valley. It aims to substitute 800 ML of Murray water by harvesting 1200 ML – 1600 ML a year of stormwater from the Gawler River.
The Barossa Valley, about 70km north of the South Australian capital Adelaide, is Australia’s premier wine region and is home to iconic brands including Penfolds. Jacob’s Creek, Wolf Blass and Seppeltsfield.
HydroPlan Principal John Gransbury at Wingate Basin, near Gawler, when the first stormwater was pumped from Gawler River last year.
Pipes being laid for the project in the Barossa Valley.
Designed and managed by Adelaide company HydroPlan, the project has delivered the full 1600 ML in its first year.
“Everything went really well last year and they even rolled some water over” HydroPlan Principal John Gransbury said.
“This season we’re full again already so unfortunately we can’t store the water flowing past that we’re authorised to take.”
HydroPlan partnered with several South Australian businesses in the construction of the project, which has won several accolades including an Honor Award from the American Society of Irrigation Consultants and a high commendation at the Water Industry Alliance Awards in Australia.
Industrial Internet of Things company Dematec delivered the control and communications infrastructure for the project, which is managed by a 3G telemetry system that allows HydroPlan to efficiently operate the system remotely via tablet or phone thereby reducing ongoing management costs.
Wingate Basin and the Gawler River are divided by the Northern Expressway near the town of Gawler.
Wingate Basin being constructed.