Mighty Maratala helps protect Murray pipeline

Murray River

SA Water’s River Murray working barge, the MV Maratala, made the journey from Berri down to Murray Bridge in efforts to protect the utility’s underwater recycled water pipeline from potential flood impacts in late December of 2022.

Together with contractor McConnell Dowell Diona joint venture, the barge vessel helped to reinforce the structural integrity of the underwater pipe using innovative concrete covers.

Stretching along the floor of the River Murray from Murray Bridge to the eastern side of the river, the pipeline delivered cleaned and highly treated recycled water to two large customers from SA Water’s recently constructed wastewater treatment facility in Brinkley.

SA Water’s General Manager of Operations Chris Young said the important work was completed ahead of the anticipated rise in flows.

“We identified this recycled water pipeline as one of our priority sites that could be impacted by floods, and have spent recent weeks undertaking comprehensive assessments and bathymetry surveys to investigate how we can best maintain the pipe’s operation for our customers,” Young said.

“Harnessing its brand new 30-tonne crane, our MV Maratala has carefully placed a series of large concrete mats across sections of the re-use pipeline, protecting its structural integrity from an increase in debris and water velocity expected over the coming weeks.

Each concrete support was laid atop the pipeline thanks to the assistance of commercial divers who were well-versed in working in low visibility environments like the River Murray.

According to the Bureau of Meterology, as of 6 January 2023, the Murray River at Mildura Weir was at 37.57 metres AHD and falling, with moderate flooding.

Moderate flooding is likewise still occurring in Wentworth, with minor flooding occurring at Wakool Junction and Boundary Bend. The Murray River at Wentworth is likely to remain above the moderate flood level, through to late January.

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