Barossa Valley irrigation project on course to expand

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Barossa Valley irrigation project on course to expand
A trial vineyard irrigation project that set out to reduce reliance on the River Murray is expanding and could soon provide enough water for an entire wine region, a year after it was first commissioned.

The A$21.4m (US$16.7m) Gawler Water Reuse Scheme in South Australia centres on 43km of pipes linking the Gawler River with a series of dams and vineyards in the western Barossa Valley. 

It set out to substitute 800 megalitres of Murray water by harvesting twice as much stormwater a year from the Gawler River.

Designed and managed by Adelaide company HydroPlan, the project has delivered the full 1,600 megalitres in its first year.

Everything went really well last year and they even rolled some water over,​” said John Gransbury, boss of HydroPlan, which designed and managed the project.

Our objective now, using the results of that trial, is to apply to put water underground that is suitable for irrigation when we’ve got surplus​.”

Gransbury said he and the management of project partner Bunyip Water have been in talks with other potential customers on neighbouring vineyards, helping them also to take control of their water security.

The pipeline is under-utilised because of the restrictions on accessing water there. But if the project is are allowed to access more, it could get up to 4 gigalitres by adding storage—relative to the Barossa’s need for at least 5 gigalitres in the short term, Gransbury added.

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