Pensar recently commenced construction of the Wamuran Irrigation Scheme – a groundbreaking water recycling and sustainable irrigation strategy for a rapidly developing population centre and agricultural region in South-East Queensland.

The seeds of the Wamuran Irrigation Scheme were first planted in 2019 when Pensar spearheaded the concept in collaboration with the region’s two largest growers – Piñata Farms and Twin View Turf – to work with service provider Unitywater from the EOI phase. The scheme sees Pensar designing and building a 22 km pipeline network and pumping infrastructure to deliver some 2.6 gigalitres of Class A water per year to the region’s growers.

Working together to deliver mutual benefits

The concept provides local growers with climate-independent irrigation, while reducing demand on dams and creeks, and diverting discharge into local river systems. In turn, the scheme provides Unitywater with an efficient solution for water reuse and sustainable irrigation. Pensar assembled a team of technical specialists – comprising AECOM, Hydroplan and Sphere Infrastructure – to develop the concept. 

Pensar Managing Director Karl Yunker says building connections for local growers is central to the sustainable success of the scheme for all stakeholders.

“We see our role as connecting the farmers and Unitywater. We formed a joint venture with two of the main irrigators in the region so we could tailor a solution with the end user in mind – making sure that what we’re proposing, designing and delivering meets the needs of growers and ultimately Unitywater. We’ve built a fantastic relationship with the farmers and Unitywater to deliver mutual benefits.”

Building confidence for local industry

For the joint venture partners and farmers in the region, the Wamuran Irrigation Scheme will deliver critical water security, promote investment and stimulate growth for the local industry and community.

Piñata Farms is a third generation agribusiness headquartered in Wamuran, where it grows strawberries, raspberries and pineapples. With some 800 hectares of cultivation, Piñata seasonally employs from 250 to 400 people.

Piñata Managing Director Gavin Scurr says the water security the scheme will deliver to the local agricultural sector will benefit the whole community. “The Wamuran Irrigation Scheme is important to this region for water security. Water security gives us confidence to plant. More production creates more employment. The whole community benefits by more production grown in this region.”

Twin View Turf grows lawn for homes, commercial projects and sporting fields. The hallowed turf at Suncorp Stadium comes from Twin View. Employing more than 40 people, Twin View grows some two million square metres of turf annually.

General Manager Lawrence Stephenson says the Wamuran Irrigation Scheme will build confidence for local growers. “The Wamuran Irrigation Scheme is critical for water security in the region. It will allow all of the growers to build strong businesses that aren’t vulnerable to changes in weather events and patterns, and allow a strong, solid foundation for the future.”

Delivering sustainable solutions

Pensar Regional Director Michael Bissett says the Wamuran Irrigation Scheme provides Unitywater with a strategic solution for water reuse and sustainable irrigation.

“Building on our strong history with Unitywater, Pensar was able to bring together a team to devise a strategy that benefited all parties. This team has been able to provide Unitywater with a bespoke technical solution that delivers benefits for the growers, community, region and local environment as well as the service provider themselves.

“This synergy between the JV partners and the specialist team has built a platform for shared success. The team is collectively working towards delivering a project that fulfils Unitywater’s original concept of utilising recycled water to irrigate the Wamuran farming region.”

Michael says working with Piñata Farms and Twin View Turf through EOI, design and now construction has been a rewarding experience.

“We’ve learned a lot. And the project has been well supported by the specialist team we put together. The Wamuran Irrigation Scheme is a great demonstration of how working with local industry and rethinking how we use and reuse resources can deliver sustainable infrastructure solutions for high-growth urban areas – and mutual benefits for our communities, utilities and environment.”

Pensar commenced construction of the Wamuran Irrigation Scheme in February. The project is expected to be fully operational mid-2024.