An ageing weir vulnerable to flooding will be replaced to ensure freshwater supply to Cooma for years to come, while a new fishway will also be built as part of the project to allow for the safe passing of native fish.
Snowy Monaro Regional Council has drawn water from the weir, which is north of the town near the popular Murrumbidgee Reserve since it was built in the 1960s.
Its rock fishway, which allows for the natural migration of fish and other aquatic animals that call the Murrumbidgee River home, is more recent and was made in the 1990s.
A council spokesperson said both constructions have been “repeatedly and severely” damaged by wild weather over the years and it was not financially or practically viable to continue repairing the old structure.
“Without taking action to replace this ageing infrastructure, there is a serious risk that Cooma could lose access to a large proportion of its freshwater supply in the event of a major flood,” the spokesperson said.
Council has released a design for the full replacement of the weir and fishway it says will safeguard water supply security as well as provide increased water quality for Cooma.
The fishway is also expected to enhance the migration of native fish species, including the river’s endangered animals like the Murray perch and trout cod.
In addition to these works, there will be major upgrades to the Murrumbidgee Reserve.
The ablution block will be refurbished, the barbecue will be replaced and the area will be fully irrigated and re-turfed.
Also, a walkway will be installed along the fishway to provide access for research groups, schools and visitors.
A council spokesperson said the works to the weir, fishway and reserve are estimated to cost $2.5 million.
The park and reserve will be closed when construction begins in May 2022. It is planned that the reserve will be reopened in October 2022, in time for the spring fish breeding season.
Council is calling for the community to provide feedback on the design of the weir with an online survey. Feedback is open until 17 April.