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TAS Country : October 7th 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010 Tasmanian Country 27 PLENTIFUL: Warwick Holmes in front of his farm dam, which can be kept full because of the pipeline from the Meander Dam. Picture: CHRIS KIDD It's dam good take a while for them to get started and really get the most out of it.'' The large Caveside Farm dam has a capacity of 100 days. Now Mr Holmes has bought 200ML of water, he has another 60 to 80 days. A farmers' networking group has started in the valley. Dairymen, poppy growers, potato growers and sheep growers come together to discuss the opportunities that come with the water. The group is modelled along the lines of the successful Coal River Valley farmers' group. ''We want to expand opportunities by networking and talking to people,'' Mr Holmes said. ''We want to try and move away from commodities and think about planting more specialty crops or change where we sell, maybe into Sydney and Melbourne markets instead of bulk commodities to McCains.'' Nuts and bolts The Meander Dam wall is made from roller-compacted concrete from material quarried on-site. ThedamwallisaswideastheMCG is long. It is 170m from abutment to abutment and 50m from upstream toe to downstream toe. The inundation area is 364ha. Gross storage capacity is 43,000ML. Effective storage capacity is 41,000ML. Irrigation water is 24,000ML per annum. A mini-hydro power station built next to the spillway produces enough electricity to power 5000 homes. Water released for irrigation and environmental flows goes through the turbine to generate electricity. The electricity from the 2.5MW power station is fed into the Tasmanian grid, with revenue generated from the sales going to the running costs of the dam. The Meander River irrigates 19,500ha of farmland; Caveside Pipeline 6500ha; Rubicon Pipeline 8000ha; Quamby Brook Pipeline 6000ha; and Hagley 2500ha to 3000ha. All pipelines are fully subscribed. Districts have been declared on the Quamby and the Meander River and all the pumps on all the pipelines are operational. The irrigation districts of the Rubicon, the Hagley and Caveside are expected to be declared within the next few days. local residents WATERWORLD: The dam is proving an asset to local people. Pictures: CHRIS KIDD LAZY DAYS: A low boat on the dam. A large area that was once a dairy farm has been transformed into a picnic and barbecue area. Many of the old trees have been retained from the dairy, and hundreds of native trees and plants have been planted to create a windbreak on the foreshore. A local Deloraine artist has designed and built circular wooden tables that have Meander River rocks as centrepieces. ''It's a good community asset as much as a dam,'' Mr Gaby said. But he said it was a different story three years ago. The Water Information System Tasmania website showed the average flow in the Meander River at Strath Bridge a paltry 14ML a day. Last year the average flow was 400ML a day. ''That's the difference,'' Mr Gaby said. ''Farmers at Selbourne would have low river flows in January, February and March. ''They'd have so much algae the cattle could hardly drink the water. ''Now the river is flowing in February and March, the bottom is clear, there's water going down there, it's a working river. ''On top of that, Deloriane and Westbury are getting water.''
September 30th 2010
October 14th 2010