Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon. Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

The Hon Paul Caica

Minister for Environment & Conservation
Minister for the River Murray
Minister for Water

Connectivity to be restored through the Goolwa Channel

Media release
4 August 2011

The Clayton Regulator in the Goolwa Channel will be removed following an agreement between the Australian and South Australian Governments.

Federal Minister for Water, Tony Burke, and the South Australian Minister for the River Murray Paul Caica, today announced funding of more than $3.8 million to restore the connectivity through the Goolwa Channel. A similar amount will be contributed by the Murray Darling Basin Authority towards the project.

"The Gillard Government is committed to improving the health of the Coorong and Lower Lakes," Mr Burke said.

"We are determined to delivering water reform for the Murray Darling Basin that restores our rivers to health, supports strong regional communities and ensures sustainable food production.

"The removal of the Clayton Regulator will improve hydrological connectivity and navigation between Lake Alexandrina and the Goolwa Channel.

"This project is in addition to the Gillard Government's commitment of $118 million for the Coorong and Lower Lakes Long Term Plan."

Mr Caica said the announcement follows the completion of works on the first stage of the removal of the Narrung Bund, fully reconnecting Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina.

"The Narrung Bund is now fully removed which means there is a completely natural flow between the Lower Lakes for the first time in more than three years," he said.

"The removal of the Clayton Regulator will allow water to flow naturally between Lake Alexandrina and the Goolwa Channel and signifies the system is recovering after the devastating impacts of the drought."

The removal of the Clayton Regulator will be co-funded by the Australian Government, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and the South Australian Government. The Australian Government funding represents 45 per cent of the estimated cost of the project.

The Goolwa Channel Water Level Management Project was implemented during 2009-10 as an emergency drought intervention measure to prevent acidification of the Goolwa Channel area.

The Regulator was constructed to allow water levels to be managed independently of Lake Alexandrina. When the Goolwa channel water level plunged to around a metre below sea level, about 27.5 gigalitres of water was pumped into the Goolwa Channel to raise the water level.

On 25 September 2010, 170 metres of the Clayton Regulator was removed due to improved water levels allowing 15,000 ML/day to pass through the regulator to the Goolwa Barrage.

Complete removal of the Regulator will further improve water quality and restore natural flows.

The Australian Government is also providing over $200,000 towards assisting the South Australian government to undertake investigations into the decommissioning of the Currency Creek Regulator. A separate proposal outlining a preferred method of removal will be developed.

"This work is important for the region's future resilience. The Gillard Government envisages a resilient and robust Coorong and Lower Lakes wetlands that will sustain internationally significant environmental values," Mr Burke said.