Planning is progressing for the delivery of water for the environment for 2021-22, which will include through potential operation of environmental regulators at Chowilla, Pike and Katarapko floodplains and weir raising at Locks 6, 5, 4 and 2.
Operations are being planned during the coming winter, spring and early summer months in order to achieve a range of benefits for floodplain and wetland vegetation and wildlife.
Manager, Environmental Water, Tony Herbert, said the potential operations at the three floodplains and weirs will depend on river conditions (flow and water quality), availability of water for the environment and approvals.
“The scale of any operations to be undertaken will also be dependent on the flow conditions,” Tony said.
“If moderate River Murray flows occur, only low level operations would be considered at Chowilla, Pike and Katarapko.
“However, if there are improvements in flows, then the Pike and Katarapko floodplain regulators could be operated to slightly higher levels than occurred in 2020 to increase the level of floodplain watering.
“This will be the second time the new infrastructure at Pike and Katarapko will be trialled, so we are looking forward to undertaking a whole-of-system test of the new regulators to ensure they are commissioned and operate as designed to achieve broad scale benefits across areas of the floodplain.
“At Chowilla, if River flows increase to around 20,000 megalitres per day or more, the regulator and Lock 6 may be operated at a higher level to achieve additional floodplain watering. Further updates will be provided as the planning continues.”
Tony said watering events are planned to achieve a range of ecological benefits for floodplain and wetland vegetation and wildlife.
“The scale of these potential operations will be dependent on higher flows enabling operation of the regulators to a higher level with more extensive floodplain watering,” Tony said.
“The Department for Environment and Water (DEW) will be monitoring water quality during any planned events with monitoring stations set up throughout the River system to capture real time water information.
“DEW will ensure the community is well informed as the details of these operations are finalised through social media and our Weekly Flow Report.”