Central Irrigation Trust pumps water from the River Murray through large diameter pipeline systems to 1,600 growers who irrigate 14,000 hectares of horticultural crops in the Riverland Region of South Australia. CIT also supply 3,200 Non Drinking Water and 17 Industrial customers.
CIT, a private company formed in 1997, manages the assets and operations of 12 Irrigation Trusts being Berri, Cadell, Chaffey, Cobdogla, Golden Heights, Kingston, Loxton, Moorook, Mypolonga, Sunlands, Waikerie and the Lyrup Village Settlement Trust.
Central Irrigation Trust was established in 1997 to manage and operate eight former Government Irrigation Districts in South Australia as part of a package to replace open channel irrigation delivery systems with fully automated pipeline schemes and transfer ownership of each district to the farmers. A further 4 districts have joined in the years since.
The districts and individual farms are not large by national irrigation standards, but have the advantage of growing high value horticultural crops which has enabled the farmers and their company managed Trusts to invest in the most modern and efficient water delivery, on-farm distribution and management systems.
Since establishment the business has become renowned for development and adoption of new technology and initiatives in water management.
The systems that CIT manage range from high pressure systems that deliver 35 metres of head pressure at the farm outlet, through medium pressure systems delivering 20 metres of head to low pressure systems delivering only 3 metres of head at the farm outlet. The high pressure systems require no on farm pumping where as the low pressure systems require the farmers to have their own on farm pumping equipment to pressurise their own systems.
The South Australian Government constructed and operated water supply schemes that delivered water to each farm in community irrigation districts. Individual farmers were responsible for their on farm irrigation infrastructure.
After 1909 the South Australian Government developed irrigation districts, and installed pumps and water distribution systems, at Waikerie (from 1909), Berri (from 1910), Moorook (from 1911), Cobdogla (from 1912), Kingston (from 1913), Mypolonga (from1913), Cadell (from 1919), and Chaffey (from 1922). After World War 2, the Commonwealth Government established irrigation districts at Cooltong and Loxton.
Downstream of Mannum from around 1881, semi-permanent wetlands adjacent to the river were re-claimed by both private developers and the South Australian Government, for irrigated pastures.
By the mid 2000s all irrigation districts managed by the State Government had been rehabilitated (that is, supply channels replaced by pipelines and the water distribution pumps replaced or upgraded) and were self-managed, through the Central Irrigation Trust.