Article Summary: Tasmanian farmers are implementing innovative irrigation schemes to tackle water scarcity, enhance crop yields, and safeguard the environment. These initiatives involve intelligent irrigation systems powered by renewable energy sources alongside data-driven decision-making using weather sensors and soil monitors. Farmers protect their livelihoods by optimising water use and crop management and bolstering agricultural sustainability. This approach offers hope for regions facing similar water challenges, demonstrating that creativity and collaboration can overcome even the most daunting obstacles. In summary, irrigation and water quality are vital for Tasmania's agricultural resilience, economic stability, and environmental sustainability.

Water supply and access to clean water on farms are significant issues for farmers in drought zones worldwide. 

In some rare good news: A group of Tasmanian farmers, 14 neighbours from the state's Northern Midlands between Epping Forest and Cressy, believe they've quadrupled the value of agriculture produced on their farmland since getting access to the high-security water, making grape growing and dairying now possible.

The Macquarie Settlement Pipeline Partnership was proposed after the state endured three drought years from 2006 to 2008 and heading into a fourth.

Investing $6 million to start the irrigation scheme, which provides members with 3 megalitres of water a day, they’ve devised a creative irrigation scheme to address water availability problems. By installing intelligent irrigation systems to maximise water use, they can now guarantee environmentally friendly farming methods.

And even better, given current challenges in attracting and retaining future farmers, those involved say increasing water security is convincing the younger generation to become farmers. 

These projects use renewable energy sources to power irrigation infrastructure, intelligent water management systems, and precision irrigation techniques. Additionally, the cooperative efforts of Australian farmers, governmental institutions, and environmental groups are working together to nurture and administer these programs.

Let’s dive in to learn more and see how this flows onto you, too.

Utilising automation and data

The Macquarie Settlement Pipeline Partnership is utilising automation and data to optimise its irrigation systems. You can do this too by using weather sensors, soil moisture monitors, and sophisticated analytics, which consider variables like soil moisture levels and rainfall projections, to make well-informed decisions about when and how much to irrigate. 

How does this affect you? By adjusting irrigation plans on the fly, you can potentially optimise your own farm’s water consumption and minimise environmental effects, utilising real-time data. And that’s where AI and agtech comes in!

Farmers are protecting their livelihoods

This ingenious irrigation scheme has advantages that go beyond water savings. Tasmanian farmers are an example of working to protect their livelihoods and bolster the agricultural industry's long-term viability by improving crop yield and lowering water risks. 

The Tasmanian experience offers hope to other regions facing comparable problems with water supply, showing that even the most difficult obstacles can be surmounted with creativity and teamwork.

Importance of irrigation

Farming irrigation is essential for many reasons:

  1. Water Scarcity: Like many other places on Earth, Tasmania experiences water scarcity, especially during dry seasons and droughts. Irrigation helps lessen the effects of water scarcity by giving crops a steady water supply.

  2. Enhanced Agricultural Yield: Irrigation may enhance agricultural yields by ensuring crops receive enough water throughout their growth cycle. This is especially crucial for Tasmania's agricultural sector, which significantly depends on premium products.

  3. Crop Diversity: Using irrigation, you may cultivate a wider range of crops, including ones that demand more water or have particular moisture requirements. Reducing reliance on a single crop and diversifying Tasmania's agricultural environment can increase the state's economic resilience.

  4. Risk Management: You can insure yourself against erratic weather patterns and the effects of climate change by using irrigation to lower the risk of crop loss owing to water stress.

  5. Economic Stability: More steady agricultural production can result from a dependable water supply provided by irrigation systems, supporting Tasmanian farmers' livelihoods and the state's overall economy

Irrigation is essential to Tasmanian, and the world’s, agriculture's capacity to maintain food security, regional economic expansion, and environmental sustainability.

Significance of water quality and health

Like many of us, this group of Tasmanian farmers place a high value on water quality since it directly affects public health, environmental sustainability, and agricultural output. Water quality is vital for the following reasons:

  1. Crop Health: Polluted, pathogen-contaminated, or too-salted water can negatively impact crop health and productivity. Poor water quality may result in stunted growth, lower yields, or crop failure.

  2. Livestock Health: Farmers depend on water sources to supply their animals with safe drinking water. However, farmers may suffer financial losses due to illnesses, decreased milk output, or even animal mortality caused by contaminated water.

  3. Soil Health: Irrigation with low-quality water can exacerbate soil deterioration by adding dangerous chemicals or salts. This can eventually lower soil fertility, making it unable to sustain strong plant growth and increased agricultural output.

  4. Environmental Impact: Pesticides, fertilisers, and silt from agricultural runoff can contaminate waterways, harming aquatic life and degrading ecosystems. Long-term sustainability depends on preserving biodiversity and the natural environment, aided by maintaining excellent water quality.

  5. Issues with Public Health: Contaminating vegetables or meat, polluting water used for irrigation, or animal watering concerns human health. Water quality is essential for the general public's health and welfare and farmers' livelihoods.

Effects of irrigation and water health on agriculture

Agriculture is significantly and broadly impacted by irrigation and water quality. Here’s how:

  1. Crop Productivity: Irrigation produces higher yields and better-quality food, as it guarantees a steady water supply for crops, particularly during dry spells. However, crop health and productivity may suffer if the irrigation water is tainted or low quality.

  2. Soil Fertility: Water and soil moisture management are two aspects of irrigation techniques that can affect soil fertility. Sufficient irrigation practices preserve soil moisture content, improve plant nutrient absorption, and promote soil health.

  3. Water Use Efficiency: Effective irrigation techniques and systems optimise water use by reducing waste and increasing crop water uptake. This is vital in areas such as Tasmania, where water supplies could be scarce or prone to seasonal fluctuations. The efficiency of irrigation systems largely depends on the quality of the water, as impurities like silt can block irrigation machinery and lower performance.

  4. Diversity of Crops and Sustainability: Dependable irrigation allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of crops, promoting agricultural resilience and sustainability. On the other hand, water scarcity or low quality might restrict crop options and increase reliance on drought-tolerant or water-intensive crops, which may reduce agricultural diversity and sustainability.

Use the Tasmanian irrigation scheme as inspiration for rethinking your water security

Water security is vital for every farm. The collaborative efforts of Tasmanian farmers, government, and environmental groups in implementing innovative irrigation schemes underscore the significance of sustainable agriculture in addressing water scarcity challenges. Agtech can assist you in your irrigation endeavours, and at, we’re the leaders in smart ways to optimise every facet of your farming experience.

If you’d like to learn more about how our industry-leading farming app Pio can ensure the ultimate in farming productivity, get in touch with us today!

Until we meet again, Happy Farming!


- The Dedicated Team of, 2024-04-16