The current concept is to build a 9.5km rockfill embankment with clay core adjacent to the Flinders River on Saego station and make use of the natural topography of surrounding basalt plateau to create a suitable “off-stream” water storage facility in the order of 190,000 mega litres (ML).

What is key to this project is effective and efficient management and use of unallocated general reserve water within the Flinders River to deliver high value horticulture crops, such as avocados, mangoes, lemons and mandarins and deliver cereal grains, hay, and fodder crops to support the local cattle industry.

High value horticulture crops have not been grown within the region due to a lack of reliable water supply. To provide a reliable water supply, it is proposed to build a large-scale water storage facility (190 GL off-stream dam) that will be located 45km north-west of Hughenden on the northern side of the Flinders River. Water from the Flinders River will be “gravity” diverted at Alderley Crossing into a 6.6 km open channel leading into the proposed Saego Dam. Water harvesting from the Stewart, Jones Valley and Back Valley Creeks will also feed into the proposed Saego Dam. The proposed scheme will maintain minimum environmental flows in the Flinders River and be compliant with the current Gulf Water plan.

The rich black soil plains located immediately on the southern side of the Flinders River, within “Dunluce” is ideal for irrigated agriculture, due to soil composition, topography, being outside the floodplain and mostly clear of trees. Infrastructure consisting of pipelines, open channels and a pump station is required to deliver water from Saego dam to the proposed irrigated areas, of which some areas can be gravity fed.

The proposed scheme will supply 30,000 ML/year of irrigation water at 94% monthly reliability to over 2,000 ha of high value horticultural crops and 40,000 ML/year of irrigation water at 70% monthly reliability to over 5,500 ha of cereal grains, hay, and fodder crops.

The Hughenden Irrigation Project will be transformational for the Hughenden community and the broader Flinders region, as it has an estimated Gross Regional Product (GRP) of up to $72.8M and will support up to 490 new jobs. The estimated total capital cost for this project is in the order of $500M.

To hear more about this project, listen to Jeff Reid on ABC radio

Hughenden Irrigation Project Site Plan

Hughenden Irrigation Project Site Plan Hughenden Irrigation Project Site Plan