Farmers offered water from South East Irrigation Scheme Tue 9 October 2012 Rebecca White Labor Member for Lyons Download hi-res version Local farmers will have the chance to buy into the proposed $39.6 million South East irrigation project when water from the scheme is offered for sale this week. The sale of water rights is the crucial next step in bringing the project to fruition, according to Member for Lyons and member of the Sorell Region Farmers Representative Group, Rebecca White. Ms White said water sales were required to meet a threshold of 80 per cent of the scheme's capacity for the project to proceed. The project will deliver 5,000 megalitres (ML) of additional water a year to agricultural land stretching from Brighton, through the Coal Valley and Sorell to as far as Forcett. Ms White said that the sales period for landholders would start with an information session at the Sorell Memorial Hall in Cole St on Thursday evening and run for four weeks. "This is a once only opportunity for a region that has struggled for water in the past," she said. "The climate and soil in this district is suitable for a range of agricultural pursuits but the success of any venture has always been severely hampered by the limited rainfall. "The proposed new scheme will change that. "The Commonwealth and State governments are prepared to invest about $26 million in the project, with a requirement of $13.5 million to be raised from the private sector through the sale of water entitlements. The new South East Irrigation Scheme will take raw water from the Derwent River to the existing Craigbourne Dam via a 50 km supply pipeline. From the dam it will be taken to farms, orchards and vineyards via 45 km of underground distribution pipeline. "The scheme will be a real wealth and employment generator and that is why a public contribution to its capital costs has been set aside. "We have all seen the development of vineyards, horticulture, orchards and other high value enterprises transform the Coal Valley since the original scheme commenced. "This has created hundreds of sustainable jobs and grown wealth and security for our community and the proposed extension of this pipeline has the potential to create an additional 500 jobs for our region," Ms White said.