Gates ready for new season

By Country News

Major works on infrastructure critical to the operation of the Stuart Murray Canal at Goulburn Weir have been completed on time and under budget.

Four radial gates on the canal’s offtake regulator have been successfully replaced with new steel structures — ensuring accurate irrigation deliveries to hundreds of farmers in the Central Goulburn irrigation area.

Originally installed in 1967, the old gates were nearing the end of their operational life and had become rusty, degraded and required replacement.

Goulburn-Murray Water, which manages the infrastructure, has been working with Shepparton contractor Fast Track Fabrication and Design since May to remove the old gates, replicate replacement gates and install the new structures.

The new gates have been tested in wet and dry conditions and are now ready for the irrigation season.

‘‘As we had to drain the Stuart Murray Canal in order to replace these gates, it was critical to our customers that we complete this work during winter, outside the gravity irrigation season,’’ G-MW dams operations manager Scott Wikman said.

‘‘This has been successful, the canal will be refilled and the structure is ready for the opening of the irrigation season on August 15.’’

To allow for the works, Mr Wikman said G-MW also slightly lowered Lake Nagambie’s water level, which would now be returned to its normal level.

Like many components on G-MW’s older irrigation infrastructure, the new radial gates had to be built from scratch and required modern innovation to reproduce their size and shape.

The Goulburn Weir and its adjoining recreational area remained open and accessible throughout the upgrade.

However, for safety reasons, the Stuart Murray Canal’s offtake structure, walkover and adjoining car park had to be closed.

‘‘These have now reopened to the public,’’ Mr Wikman said.