Essential maintenance works at the Mildura Weir will begin on Monday, the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has confirmed.

The maintenance work will involve lowering the river level in the weir pool and closing Lock 11 for around three weeks.

MDBA Executive Director River Management, Andrew Reynolds said Lock 11 was one of the busiest on the Murray, so feedback from tourism operators, irrigators and the Mildura Rural City Council was taken into account when deciding on a date for the maintenance to begin.

“The Murray River is vital to the region’s economy and recreation, so we have scheduled the works to begin after the school holidays but before the irrigation season to try to minimise the inconvenience to the community as much as we can,” Mr Reynolds said.

“It is critical that river infrastructure is kept in the best possible condition to protect workers and visitors and to support all the communities and industries that depend upon the reliable operation of the River Murray.”

Goulburn-Murray Water Storage Operations North Manager, David Irvine said the works are estimated to take three weeks, including six days to lower the weir pool and six days to refill it.

“We will be commissioning a new winch dedicated to the site and replacing three of the 24 trestles that control the water levels at the weir. The last time refurbished trestles were installed at the Mildura weir was when the weir was reinstated after flood flows in 2016,” he said.

“When work is done on a weir it usually means more water is released downstream to reduce the height of the river immediately upstream in the weir pool. We expect the upstream river level to drop by around 3.5 metres in July, exposing the riverbank, but this will depend on the flow rates in the Murray at the time.”

“Boats and other river vessels will not be able to pass through the lock after 4.30pm next Tuesday. Access by foot to the Lock Island recreation area will be closed during the works.”

Boat operators, river pumpers and other river users are encouraged to take the lowering of the weir pool and lock closure into account when planning their activities on the river.