A joint venture irrigation water scheme, believed to be the largest privately funded joint scheme in Australia, was opened in 1995. Forty two participants funded the $2.6 million irrigation scheme at Langhorne Creek, near the shores of Lake Alexandrina in South Australia.
In the early 1950's plans were laid for the Government of the day to fund a scheme to deliver water from the Lake to Langhorne Creek, however good quality underground water was discovered and exploited instead. An opening up of the underground basin gradually led to over pumping and the basin became a proclaimed water area in 1981 with licences issued and gradual cut backs in water allocations introduced.
With both water quality and quantity deteriorating, the irrigation area of Langhorne Creek, including the now highly recognised premium grape and wine production industry, was threatened. The need for an alternative water source was urgently required, but few thought water could be lifted 27 metres uphill and pumped 17km from the Lake at a viable cost.
Encouraged by the Angas Bremer Basin Water Committee's push toward self control, a feasibility study was commenced in early 1994 and a joint venture was formed between 42 individuals and the Langhorne Creek Water Company Pty Ltd (with 7 local directors), formed to manage their interests.
Following the feasibility study, the Langhorne Creek Water Company Pty Ltd engaged HydroPlan Pty Ltd to design and project manage the pressurised water system. The design was based around the individual needs of the participants whose interests range from grapes, almonds, potatoes, lucerne, dairy, horticulture and stock to domestic water and needs were from 1L/s to 40L/s, pressurised and on demand.
HydroPlan's system design is capable of pumping up to 1.7 million litres per hour from Lake Alexandrina through 35km of pipeline to the furthermost point 17km from the Lake, servicing 52 outlets on the way, simultaneously, at their nominated flow rate and above the required pressure.
The design incorporates pumps and pipeline to use the bare minimum of energy. In recognition of this energy saving, the Langhorne Creek Water Company Pty Ltd was able to secure a $38,000 ETSA grant which was used to pay for the initial feasibility and planning.
There are 4 strategically placed pump stations, 10.5km of 600mm new generation high density polyethylene trunk main and 24.2 km of lateral PVC mains, with outlets fitted with data loggers for constant monitoring of outlet performance. Local companies were contracted for supply and installation.