Murray Mouth Dredging Pauses for Maintenance

From today, December 6th, dredging at the Murray Mouth will pause for about a month to allow for repairs and maintenance of the dredge.

The dredging started in January 2015 to maintain connectivity between the Coorong and the Southern Ocean after River Murray flows were no longer sufficient to scour sand from the Mouth.

By late October 2016, the increasing River Murray unregulated flow improved conditions at the Mouth and one of the two dredges was decommissioned.

Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources Water Resource Operations Manager Jarrod Eaton said that dredging is the most effective method of keeping the Mouth open, but now, “thanks to the high flows, nature is taking over.”

From today the remaining dredge will pause operations for up to a month for maintenance and repair works. The suspension is expected to have minimal impact on maintaining an open Mouth due to the continuing high River Murray flows over December and early January 2017.

Jarrod added that at this stage only one dredge will resume operations in the New Year. “During the suspension the remaining dredge and buoys will be moved away from the Mouth.”

Dredging was required for eight years during the Millennium Drought to keep the Mouth open and maintain a healthy ecosystem in the Coorong.

It is important that the Mouth remains open to maintain connectivity between the river, the Coorong and the Southern Ocean, to discharge salt and other nutrients out to sea, and to maintain healthy ecosystems in the Coorong.