Visitors to the Lower Lakes Barrages can now get an up-close look at the Goolwa lock thanks to efforts by SA Water to improve the visitor experience at the site.
The local crew has safely put the finishing touches on a new access platform and fencing on the eastern side of the lock to allow members of the public to safely walk across both sides of the 30 metre-long, six metre-wide structure at the Goolwa Barrage for the first time.
Located at the end of the River Murray system, the Goolwa Barrage is one of five important barrages constructed between 1934 and 1940 to reduce salinity levels in the lower reaches of the River Murray, Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert, and also to stabilise the river level for both upstream pumping and irrigation.
SA Water’s Senior Manager of River Murray Operations Garry Fyfe said the viewing platform and walkway over the lock gates provides a unique view directly down the Coorong.
“Being situated at the end of the Murray system means the site is frequently visited by an array of amazing wildlife and aquatic birds, and is why our team wanted to provide an even better experience for those who visit the area,” Garry said.
“It was vital that any changes to access to the site were made without compromising the function of the lock and barrage system, and the team came together to modify the existing barriers and extend access across the lock gate.
“Our team at the Goolwa Barrage absolutely love being able to meet the thousands of visitors each year and explain the history of the lock and wider barrages system, so improving the experience on offer will help attract even more visitors.”
The upgrades at Goolwa Barrages, which also included ongoing rehabilitation works to the nearby Sir Richard Peninsula, helped SA Water’s River Murray Operations team win the coveted Senator JS Collings Trophy earlier this year, which is awarded annually by the Murray Darling Basin Authority to the most effectively maintained asset in the River Murray system.
“This award is strongly contested and we’re up against operators of the large interstate water storage dams like Hume, Dartmouth and Menindee, so to take home the top prize this year is recognition for all the work the team puts in every day,” Garry said.
“It really generates a great sense of pride and friendly competition between the Basin states, so we will claim this as a win for South Australia!"
Along with the barrage sites at Goolwa, Mundoo, Boundary Creek, Ewe Island and Tauwitchere, SA Water operates locks one to nine across the River Murray on behalf of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, as well as the management of Lake Victoria.
"The travel restrictions across South Australia due to COVID-19 saw a reduction in traffic through our locks by more than sixty per cent, but with our lock sites now reopened for people to visit or have a picnic, these numbers have returned to what we normally see," Garry said.
“While we encourage people to head back and enjoy the public spaces at our locks, we ask everyone to please continue to practice safe social distancing measures to keep our lockies and other visitors safe.”
More information on SA Water's River Murray operations is available at sawater.com.au.
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