Maintenance works on the Mildura Weir have been cancelled after an employee was confirmed as a close contact of a confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) case.
Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) Water Storage Services general manager Martina Cusack said the health and safety of staff working at the weir was paramount.
“Works have subsequently shut down and the site is being restored and made safe,” she said.
“The weir is back in and the river level rising. The water level will return to normal next week.
“The works will be re-scheduled for winter 2022 or before then if there is a flood or high river flows.”
The works, which started on July 12, involved lowering the river level in the weir pool and closing Lock 11 for about three weeks.
This included commissioning a new winch and replacing three of the 24 trestles that control the water levels at the weir.
“While it is disappointing that the works have shut down, it was a success in many ways, as the refurbished weir winch has now been fully tested for operation following prior refurbishment work,” Ms Cusack said.
“The team also refamiliarised themselves with the weir pull operation, and considered improvements to the OHS and operational procedures, providing confidence in undertaking another weir pull should there be a high flow event before winter 2022.
The condition of some of the trestles were also inspected, which will inform the maintenance requirements for the weir pull next year.”
The MDBA head of river management, Andrew Reynolds, said it was unfortunate works had been interrupted by COVID-19, however it was important to appropriately manage risks to water delivery in the coming weeks.
“The start of the irrigation season is not far off, so any delay that resulted in pushing back the scheduled completion of the works would potentially impact the region’s horticultural and other industries,” Mr Reynolds said.
“Current flows in the river are reasonably high due to the recent wet conditions, and we anticipate that the Mildura weirpool will return to its usual height by early next week.
“We appreciate the understanding of the local community. The maintenance and safety of river infrastructure is a priority for river managers, and we look forward to maintenance work resuming at the Mildura Weir in 2022.”
The Mildura Weir and Lock 11 are operated and maintained by GMW on behalf of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.