As the new custodians of Quelltaler’s grapevines, Seppeltsfield Wines were committed to developing the sustainability of the property, and water security was an immediate focus. HydroPlan initially conducted a benefit-cost analysis to ascertain that storing off-peak water was more economical than accessing water during summer, so dams would be required to secure a sustainable future for Quelltaler.
Future proofing Quelltaler
Initial investigations revealed that both dams on Quelltaler - Berrimans and Carlsfield - were unsuitable in their current conditions. Both leaked, and neither had the capacity required to store the volumes of water needed to irrigate the surrounding vineyards. HydroPlan developed designs to access and move available earth, increasing Berriman’s dam to 350 ML, while reducing Carlsfield to 250 ML. Suitable clay was trucked from Berriman’s to Carlsfield to form more efficient shapes to reduce evaporation and lining materials. The watercourses were diverted around the dams and the sequence of refurbishment was carefully planned to provide continuity during storage and use of water, for irrigation and construction.
In addition to engineering designs of the dams, transfer pipelines and pump stations, HydroPlan was retained to provide project management services, undertake development approval processes, and design a new vineyard irrigation system. When a seam of hard rock and a corroded inlet-outlet pipe were encountered during construction, HydroPlan’s design team reshaped the dams to maintain storage with minimal impact to the construction time and budget.
Assessing the outcomes
Completed in 2019, the white lined dams at Quelltaler filled with aquamarine blue water provided a spectacular sight. More importantly, the dams provide the vineyard with the ability to store winter sourced water for use in summer, taking advantage of off-peak water charges. The integrated pumping, filtration and fertigation systems improved vineyard health rapidly as water was delivered to the vines as needed. The new system reduces the demands on vineyard staff and improves access to peak water for small neighbouring vineyards.
For the wider community, the revitalisation of an iconic South Australian vineyard proves that heritage and sustainability can work hand-in-hand while also strengthening valuable tourism and wine industries.
HydroPlan has undertaken a number of large scale water storage projects for vineyards including Moculta and Bilyara-Kalimna, both in the Barossa Valley.