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East Mirrool Regulator soil to stay

Tuesday April 2, 2013 - 09:02 EDT

It could be months before Murrumbidgee Irrigation attempts to fix a piece of infrastructure which was blamed by some residents for exacerbating floods in 2012.

In February, the East Mirool Regulator over the main canal at Yenda was attacked by vandals who removed dirt from around the structure.

Griffith City Council expected a decision on removing the soil to be made by the company's board last Thursday.

But Murrumbidgee Irrigation I chairwoman Gillian Kirkup says the board needs more information.

Ms Kirkup says the canal has to keep delivering water to up to a thousand irrigators, so she can't say when any works will occur.

"I can't answer that," she said.

"It's a case of working with the council and with the independent report to get the best outcome."

"Of course we will certainly try and get it solved as soon as possible, it's something nobody wants to see hanging over anybody's head."

"It has to be the best outcome and by doing a knee jerk reaction may not necessarily solve anything. It may make things worse, we don't know."

Ms Kirkup says the company will work closely with Griffith City Council on the best outcome but its priority is also to downstream irrigators.

She is not releasing details of a structural report considered by the board on Thursday.

"The advice that we received was purely around the current operation of the canal under normal circumstances, it was nothing to do with flooding. There will be demand until the end of the season," said Ms Kirkup.

"There will be irrigators who'll make a decision of whether they want to do a pre-irrigation for their winter crops, now this is largely general security but they have as much a right to water as anyone else."

She says for now, MI has to ensure the canal will not rupture.

"If it ruptures that means the end of irrigation to as much as a third of our customers."

"We have to operate the canal for our irrigation infrastructure and the Griffith City Council has absolute right over management of flood mitigation. The canal is stable and we need to make sure that that continues and everybody works together to get the outcome the whole area needs," she said.

Ms Kirkup is not saying if the situation is the catalyst for replacing the regulator altogether, something residents of Yenda and the mayor of Griffith say should happen, but could cost $5 to $10 million.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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