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Menindee weir removal ‘botched’

Monday, 13th January, 2020

By Emily McInerney

Proposed works to remove the old Menindee Town Weir has been described as a “botch job” by a resident after three quarters of the weir remains.

In 2017, proposed measures and works were put forward by the NSW Government as part of the Menindee Lakes Water Saving Project.

It was part of the sustainable diversion limit (SDL) adjustment mechanism project.

Among the works were the Wentworth to Broken Hill pipeline, ceasing to use Lake Cawndilla for water storage in all but the wettest years, considering alternative options for water security in the Lower Darling, permitting faster drawdown of water in Lake Menindee, including giving access to residual water, and enlarging the outlet structure and constructing a drainage channel in Lake Menindee’s bed.

Infrastructure work included removing the old Menindee Town Weir.

The aim of the removal of the redundant weir was to improve Menindee Outlet Regulator flows.

The Department of Planning Industry and Environment Water is behind the project.

Menindee resident Graeme McCrabb said there were workers at the weir on Thursday, but they had left and failed to remove all of the infrastructure.

“The weir is still completely there,” he said.

“The biggest issue, apart from the boat passage, is that it is holding back sediment in the water.

“The weir is contributing to zero oxygen in the water.

“It creates no or low oxygen pockets. Removing the weir would allow flows to come through.

“There is three quarters, if not more, of the weir still in place.”

Mr McCrabb said it should have been a simple process.

“It’s such a simple process, and in their mind they’ve completed it.

“How can they be trusted to deliver good outcomes to the community?

“Surely it’s not that hard?”

Mr McCrabb believes the department will announce they have completed this step of the SDL adjustment projects.

“In my personal opinion, this is a PR opportunity for them to say they can get works done.

“But it’s backfired, it’s an ill-informed project and shows they are totally incompetent.”

He said the levels at the weir are about one metre and he can just get his boat through there.

“It will be unboatable in the next few weeks as levels continue to drop.

“Removing the weir completely would have addressed oxygen issues and better water quality.

“You can only do a weir removal when the river has stopped flowing.

“The next time it flows you won’t be able to get any work done.

“It was a simple process and they’ve botched it.”

DPIE has been contacted for comment.

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