River Murray locks, rivers and weirs have been celebrated as 2015 marks 100 years since the first foundation stone was laid at Lock One in Blanchetown, SA.
SA River Murray and Water Minister, Ian Hunter, said in the past century, the River Murray has transformed from a travelling and trading route into a major economic and environmental asset.
“The installation of infrastructure along the river over the past 100 years been integral to managing the Murray and providing water security to communities living along it,” he said.
“The State Government has fought for the continued health of the river through a fair Basin Plan, and continues to invest in improvements along the river, including lock refurbishments and the completed installation of fishways late last year.
“Of course, the key contributors to the river’s success are the numerous people who have been involved in its management and maintenance over the years, and we celebrate this work.
“On 5 June 1915, a celebration saw more than 100 eminent politicians catch a train to Murray Bridge and then board the PS Marion to Blanchetown for the ceremony,” Mr Hunter said.
“In 2015, many of the features of the original event will be re-created, including the PS Marion once again steaming into Blanchetown, greeted by a band and local school children.”
Mr Hunter said the celebrations come as three new regulating structures near Renmark and Paringa have been completed to improve the long-term health of the Pike Floodplain.
“The $3 million Mundic Creek regulators will allow up to 2,000 hectares of the eastern portion of the floodplain to be inundated when other structures on the floodplain are constructed,” he said.
The previous earthen banks on Mundic Creek could not control flow or allow for fish passage, but these new structures will allow water to be held on the floodplain to simulate a natural flood, ensuring the environment gains the maximum benefit.
“When the entire Pike Floodplain project is complete we will be able to inundate the floodplain to the same level as a 70,000ML/day natural flood. This level is 1.65m higher than the normal pool level in Mundic Creek.”
The Mundic Creek regulators were funded through the State and Federal Governments’ $91 million Riverine Recovery Project.