“This completes an important strategic pillar to waterproof our Barossa vineyards against the ever-challenging backdrop of global warming and climate change,” Seppeltsfield proprietor Warren Randall says.
In 2014 Seppeltsfield joined forces with Light Regional Council, supported by Federal Government funding from the Stormwater harvesting and reuse project, to build a 42km pipeline to harvest surplus winter stormwater flows from the Gawler River and pump them north to provide supplementary irrigation to Barossa Valley vineyards and irrigation water for community use on ovals, parks and gardens.
Following its acquisition of the ‘Barossa Vines’ Managed Investment Scheme, (13 separate Barossa vineyards covering 2,600 acres) in October 2011, Seppeltsfield was seeking to waterproof these vineyards with an independent water supply, that was not dependent on supply from the ailing River Murray.
Bunyip Water was born.
Designed by Hydroplan in collaboration with Seppeltsfield and originally known as the Gawler River Water Re-use Scheme, it was renamed to pay homage to the town of the Gawler and its local newspaper, The Bunyip.
The first water harvested from the Gawler River as part of the project occurred in August 2016.
“Water has always been a precious resource in South Australia, being the driest state in the driest inhabited continent on Earth,” Light Regional Council CEO Brian Carr says.
“With the emergence of climate change upon us, we cannot take for granted that water will always be available from the River Murray, at scale.
“The Bunyip Water scheme was an opportunity for us to develop a bespoke, innovative and sustainable solution with one of Australia’s most iconic wine businesses.
“Key to the success of this was trust, a foundation we immediately found with the team at Seppeltsfield, and evident every step of the way.”
Randall says, “Bunyip Water is a stunning example of the capability and power of a successful PPP (Public Private Partnership).
“Many Councils would have been spooked and fearful of such a far reaching and ambitious project, but not the Light Regional Council.
“For that, I also thank them. Full credit also to SA Federal Labor Senator Don Farrell, and SA State Labor Minister Nick Champion for their far-reaching vision to relieve water usage pressure from the River Murray.
“The surplus winter flows of the Gawler River were being lost to agriculture by simply flowing out into the gulf.
“Water in South Australia is such a precious resource and the Barossa Valley is such a significant economic driver for our State.
“Bunyip Water is a large, complex and innovative project which required a comprehensive and cohesive planning approach involving all stakeholders, spearheaded by Hydroplan for on time, on budget and best in class execution.
“Its success should give significant confidence for others to follow the PPP pathway, where federal, state and local/regional governments effectively work in harmony with private enterprise to benefit the local, state and national economies.”
The Randall Wine Group was established in 1978 and is Australia’s largest private luxury vineyard holder, with the jewel in the crown, Seppeltsfield Estate in the Barossa and Penny’s Hill Estate in McLaren Vale.