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Published: 13 December 2016   •   Media release

Weirs on the River Murray in Victoria and New South Wales are being reinstated during December as the floods pass downstream into South Australia.

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) head of River Management, David Dreverman, said it was important to return the amenity of well managed weir pools.

"We are grateful to local communities for their patience while work is underway to have the locks and weirs functioning again for the summer. This infrastructure brings great economic benefit to many communities by enabling navigation the length of the river, tourism and recreation, and access to irrigation water," Mr Dreverman said.

"Re-installing the weirs is safe and relatively quick, thanks to significant investment by basin governments over the last decade to improve flood operations," Mr Dreverman said. The MDBA had removed the weirs in October to safely allow flood waters to pass unencumbered.

The Euston weir (lock 15) was successfully reinstated last week.

Work at the Wentworth weir (lock 10) will be starting on Wednesday 14 December. Passage through the lock will be unavailable for up to one week while staff are reinstating the weir, however passage by appointment may be possible by contacting lock staff on 0350273190.

Mr Dreverman said work to reinstate the Mildura weir (lock 11) was expected to start on Friday 16 December, given the current rate at which the river was falling.

"This work has been brought forward by a few days in response to irrigator feedback, to limit the period in which pumping from the river might be impacted," Mr Dreverman said.

"The process of reinstating the weir is likely to take between two and five days, and it would be about another seven days before the weir pool returns to full supply level. Until then, lower levels might temporarily affect some people's access to water or require adjustments to boat moorings.

"The last opportunity for river traffic to pass the weir will be on Thursday 15 December, before Lock 11 re-opens to traffic, which is expected to be one week after the weir is reinstated. Navigation with care upstream and downstream of the lock is still possible, however we advise water skiers and other river users to be wary of logs and obstacles close to the surface.

"Timing the reinstatement of the weirs depends on how quickly the river recedes. As it happens, we expect flows at Mildura to fall to a critical point that coincides with the Christmas period.

"Waiting until after Christmas would have risked low flows at Mildura impacting on the local tourism industry and irrigators' access to water. To take action earlier, when river levels were higher, would have risked the integrity of the weir structure and safety of the operators.

Management of the weirs is coordinated by the MDBA in cooperation with Goulburn-Murray Water, WaterNSW and SA Water. For more information about River Murray operations, see the Weekly Report.

ENDS

For more information, contact the MDBA Media office at media@mdba.gov.au or 02 6279 0141

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