L-R: Light Regional Council Mayor - Bill O’Brien; Light Regional Council Deputy Mayor – Deane Rohrlach; Randall Wine Group & Seppeltsfield, Executive Chairman and Proprietor – Warren Randall.

Seppeltsfield Estate, part of The Randall Wine Group, has announced it has officially acquired Bunyip Water and therefore completed an important strategic pillar of the company.

Bunyip Water is the result of a joint project between Seppeltsfield Wines and its local council, the Light Regional Council. It began in 2014 with funding from the Federal Government’s stormwater harvesting and re-use project, with a plan to build a 42km pipeline that harvested surplus winter stormwater from the Gawler River and pumped it north as supplementary irrigation for Barossa Valley vineyards, as well as community use on ovals, parks and gardens.

Seppeltsfield became interested in a project like this after its bold and strategic acquisition of the Barossa Vines Managed Investment Scheme in 2011, which included 13 separate Barossa vineyards covering 2,600 acres. The company wanted to waterproof these vineyards with an independent water supply that did not depend on the ailing Murray River, especially with the changing climate and the challenges that came with it.

CEO of the Light Regional Council, 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.”

The Bunyip Water pipeline project, originally known as the Gawler River Water Re-use Scheme, was designed by Hydroplan in collaboration with Seppeltsfield and was completed by South Australian contractors on time and on budget. Its effectiveness and efficiency has seen Hydroplan celebrated on the international stage, recognised for excellence in irrigation by the American Society of Irrigation Consultants.

The project was eventually renamed to pay homage to the town of Gawler and its local newspaper, The Bunyip, and harvested its first water in 2016. This was followed by seven winters of successful operational use by Seppeltsfield, which contributed to the move to now acquire the project from the Light Regional Council.

Warren Randall, Executive Chairman and Proprietor of Seppeltsfield and The Randall Wine Group, said there were a lot of people to thank in making Bunyip Water a success, and noted how it sets a good example for future projects.

“Bunyip Water is a stunning example of the capability and power of a successful PPP, (Public Private Partnership),” he said.

“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.”

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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