SA Water office

SA Water has completed its refurbishment of the Warren Reservoir’s dam intake and scour valves, with the facility now open to the public for on-water access.

Visitors to the reservoir reserve are now able to again enjoy a paddle on the water after the reservoir reached a level suitable for kayaking, with access via the southern car park and kayak launch area.

The reservoir’s water level was gradually lowered to near zero capacity in March 2023 to enable work on the valves, with the storage now sitting at 64 per cent as it continues to refill to normal operating levels.

SA Water’s Senior Manager of Capital Delivery, Peter Seltsikas, said the utility adopted a different approach to the project’s initial scope, which has ensured that the valves will operate reliably for years to come.

“Rather than install replacement valves, we instead refurbished the existing three valves and replaced the majority of their control mechanisms to breathe new life into the infrastructure,” Mr Seltsikas said.

“This work involved replacing the rods and roller brackets that control the opening and closing of the valves, along with inspections and remedial maintenance on the valves themselves.

“We made this decision to limit sediment discharge downstream of the reservoir while still meeting the project’s outcome of improving the valves’ reliability.

“Our crews undertook the majority of this maintenance work before allowing the reservoir to naturally refill to a minimum level and deployed divers to complete the installation of the new control mechanisms.

“Importantly, this approach also enabled us to deliver the project in what had become a condensed timeline, to ensure we were able to refill the reservoir in time for peak water demand during the warmer months.

“With our work now wrapped up, we’ve restocked the reservoir with 10,000 golden perch and silver perch fingerlings, including some larger fish up to around 15cm in length.

“A further 10,000 fingerlings of the treasured Murray cod will also be released in coming weeks to help further repopulate the reservoir with native fish.

“While these fingerlings grow to a catch-ready size, our nearby South Para Reservoir remains the fishing hotspot for anglers after taking on the 4.5t of Warren’s native fish we relocated before emptying the reservoir,” Mr Seltsikas said.

Warren Reservoir provides a supply of water for irrigation, as well as supplementing South Para Reservoir, where water flows to Barossa Reservoir for treatment before it’s supplied to around 85,000 customers.

Mr Seltsikas said geotechnical and structural investigations are now underway on the dam, to inform options for a future upgrade.

“While the reservoir was temporarily emptied, we undertook a detailed investigation of the structures that are normally underwater to build our understanding of the dam, and this is an evolution of our work,” Mr Seltsikas said.

“These investigations are taking place until mid-November, with drill rigs set-up on the downstream side of the dam to enable drilling of cores from the top of the dam into the foundation, as well as drilling horizontal cores through the dam.

“Along with Mount Bold, Warren is one of the next dams under consideration as part of our long-term upgrade program, with the data from our study informing potential design options for this dam.”

While these investigations are underway, public access to the western section of the reserve and northern car park remains closed until late November 2023.

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