May 04, 2018

Murray Irrigation CEO Michael Renehan (left) and Ertech managing director Alec Courts inspect plans for the upgrade of the iconic Syphons near Deniliquin this week.

One of the region’s iconic agricultural assets is set to undergo its first major upgrade in more than 60 years.

Extensive repair works will start on the symbolic Lawson Syphons, located 10 kilometres east of Deniliquin, from next week.

The critical upgrades include concrete remediation works and replacing wheel-operated regulating gates with automated, telemetry-enabled hardware that is among the most advanced available.

The works have been awarded to Ertech, whose managing director Alec Courts met onsite with Murray Irrigation CEO Michael Renehan on Wednesday.

Mr Renehan expects the upgrade to extend the iconic asset’s operational life for another 50 years.

‘‘The Lawson Syphons is critical to our operations,’’ he said.

‘‘It diverts the Mulwala Canal under the Edward River and helps to deliver water to the Deniboota irrigation district.

‘‘The structure has been regarded as a national asset from the day its construction was first conceived.’’

The 700-metre long structure is currently being drained to allow engineers to replace dilapidated concrete aprons at the syphon.

The syphon’s gates will also be replaced with automated, stainless steel infrastructure, provided by AWMA - Water Control Solutions.

Construction of the Lawson Syphons was completed in 1955 after taking 16 years to build. Work started in 1939 but was halted only weeks later following the outbreak of World War II. When work resumed in 1945, project managers were faced with repeated flooding of the Edward River and labour shortages.

These days, the critical asset supplies water to hundreds of landholders over 140,000ha, whose agricultural and horticultural enterprises support our region’s economy.

The upgrade to the Lawson Syphons is part of Murray Irrigation’s Private Irrigation Infrastructure Operators Program (PIIOP) Round 3 project, which has received approval for funding of up to $114.8 million from the Australian Government.

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