‘Seppeltsfield ticks off another of its strategic pillars’

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Bunyip Water

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.

After 7 winters of successful operational use, Seppeltsfield has acquired Bunyip Water from the Light Regional Council and therefore completed an important strategic pillar to waterproof its Barossa vineyards against the ever-challenging backdrop of global warming and climate change.

In 2014, Seppeltsfield Wines in the Barossa Valley joined forces with its Local Council; the Light Regional Council, supported by Federal Government funding from the Stormwater harvesting and re-use project to plan and build a 42 km 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 bold and strategic acquisition of the “Barossa Vines” Managed Investment Scheme, (13 separate Barossa Valley 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. And so, Bunyip Water was born.

Designed by Hydroplan in collaboration with Seppeltsfield and originally known as the Gawler River Water Re-use Scheme, it was re-named to pay homage to the town of its source, Gawler, established in 1836 and its local newspaper, “The Bunyip”.

The Bunyip Water pipeline project was completed and delivered by South Australian contractors on time and on budget, with the first water harvested from the Gawler River in August, 2016.

In recognition of Bunyip Water’s design effectiveness, efficiency and excellence, Hydroplan was recognised on an international stage in 2017 for ‘Excellence in Irrigation’ by the American Society of Irrigation Consultants.

The Light Regional Council, Chief Executive Officer, Brian Carr, said “Water has always been a precious resource in South Australia, being the driest state in the driest inhabited continent on Earth. 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”.

Seppeltsfield and the Randall Wine Group, Executive Chairman and Proprietor, Warren Randall, added:

“Bunyip Water is a stunning example of the capability and power of a successful PPP, (Public Private Partnership). I want to thank CEO, Brian Carr, Mayor, Bill O’Brien, LRC Engineer, Kieran Chappell and all of the councillors of the Light Regional Council for their belief and enduring support of the Bunyip Water project.

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.”

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