How Irrigation Water is Supplied
The irrigation season runs from October to April, the precise dates depending on the weather. Water is released to Harvey Water from seven Darling Scarp dams controlled and maintained by the Water Corporation. A water storage fee is paid to the Water Corporation based on the amount of water released, which is measured at five delivery points. Harvey Water also has rights to water under its 3 licences, so does not buy water from the Water Corporation.
Harvey Water is responsible for the delivery infrastructure - a network of channels and pipes: 83 km lined channels, 172 km unlined channels and 430 km of pipeline with a total of 1 536 supply points. The Harvey district is largely piped, allowing 24 hour/day access to water under gravity pressure suitable for operating sprinklers. The aim is to convert the remainder of the system, which is a mix of soil and concrete lined channels to pipes.
The Harvey Water Irrigation Area is relatively unique among Australian schemes because it is entirely gravity fed. This is possible because:
- the water is sourced from a large number of dams relative to the area served
- the land area served is narrow compared to its length; and
- there are relatively steep grades across the width.
Because the scheme cannot supply all properties at once, a daily allocation system is used to meet individual customer's needs while maximising the efficiency of the distribution system and minimising water wastage.
Customers order water and Water Controllers schedule water supply to properties on the same delivery route. Our 9 water controllers are based within specific areas and are responsible for their own clients within those areas. They operate the automated distribution system via computer using SCADA software to deliver the water as scheduled. SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) generally refers to industrial control systems (ICS): computer systems that monitor and control industrial, infrastructure, or facility-based distribution process.