The Tauwitchere Barrage Lock at the Murray mouth is closed for an upgrade with all boaties unable to head through until it reopens next month.
The barrage, which is one of the only hand operated locks in the country, was built in the 1930’s and take some effort from those moving through it to open and close the valves to change the water levels.
SA Water’s Senior Manager of River Murray Operations Garry Fyfe said only around 250 boats and other vessels navigate through Tauwitchere each year, and even some of the more travelled River Murray enthusiasts aren’t aware it exists.
“At around 3.5 by 13 metres, it’s definitely one of our smaller structures, but it still plays an important part in the wider river system,” Garry said.
“Tauwitchere is a small hand-operated lock, which although common with lock operations in Europe, is very rare in Australia."
“Like other larger locks, it works through a process of opening and closing valves to equalise upstream and downstream water levels, to allow river vessels to safely continue their journeyalong the River Murray. This process typically takes between 10 to 15 minutes."
“The difference with Tauwitchere is that rather than a machine carrying out the task, it’s all done through the brute strength of boat operators and their crew."
“The main aim of the lock upgrade is to make this procedure quicker and easier. Works being undertaken include the installation of new valves to reduce opening and closing times by up to 80 per cent, and repainting of the lock chamber gates.”
The upgrade is expected to be completed in September.