Joint Media Release: White Hills home to Tasmania’s newest irrigation scheme​

25 March 2019

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud
Senator for Tasmania, Steve Martin


  • The new North Esk Irrigation Scheme officially opened
  • Features 5,200ML Rocklands Dam, 2 pump stations and 57km of distribution pipeline
  • Coalition Government provided $18.92 million to the project in a public-private partnership with the Tasmanian Government and irrigators

Farmers in Tasmania's White Hills region have unprecedented access to water with the North Esk Scheme now in full swing.

​Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud and Senator for Tasmania Steve Martin today launched the scheme, with Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Richard Colbeck, Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries and Water Guy Barnett, and Chair of Tasmanian Irrigation Samantha Hogg.

"The Coalition Government is building the water security infrastructure of the 21st century," Minister Littleproud said.

"The North Esk Irrigation Scheme delivers a new dam, pump stations and water distribution pipelines.

"Already, Tasmanian farmers have grown crops using water pumped from the North Esk River to the 5,200-megalitre Rocklands Dam for release during summer.

"The Scheme will boost the region's irrigable area to more than 16,500 hectares and add 50 ongoing jobs to local communities."

Senator Martin said the infrastructure improvements would help farmers adapt to future conditions with greater certainty about water supplies.

"More reliability in irrigation not only improves current farming prospects, but it gives farmers greater confidence in decision-making," Senator Martin said.

"With better water security, there are more opportunities to consider things like crop diversification or new investments, which we need for our regional communities to thrive."

​Fast Facts:

  • The four sustainable irrigation schemes of the Project Agreement for Tasmania Tranche II are now complete, delivering:
    • irrigation to areas around White Hills, Smithton, Bothwell and Swansea
    • 21.8 gigalitres in water storage
    • coverage of 52,000 hectares of irrigable land
    • creation of 179 ongoing jobs
  • The Coalition Government provided $60 million, the Tasmanian Government $30 million, and the remainder of the construction budget met by private investment.