At the International Commission for Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) triennial conference held in Mexico in October 2017 the Bleasdale Vineyards floodgate, nominated by Irrigation Australia Limited, was accepted for inclusion in the ICID heritage irrigation structure register.
Together with a nomination of the Goulburn Weir in Victoria these are the first two structures from the southern hemisphere to be included in the ICID register.
To qualify the structures needed to be more than 100 years old and the system still be in use today.
Bleasdale Vineyards Chairman, Robert Edwards said Bleasdale is very proud of its heritage, innovation, vision and practical endeavour.
“This floodgate represents the historic and continuing system of irrigation which has been most beneficial to Bleasdale Vineyards over the years.”
The floodgates bear testament to the capacity of the settlers to utilise existing resources in a sustainable manner
The nomination was proposed by the Angas Bremer Water Management Committee, formed in the 1980’s who still speaks for Langhorne Creek in matters of underground and surface water management, given the demonstrated ability to sustainably use both the underground water the floodplain surface water in a sustainable manner.
The floodgates throughout Langhorne Creek are strong examples of artisanal craftsmanship.
The precisely shaped redgum planks are dropped into grooves in the stone piers. Individual logs can then be removed or replaced to control the volume of water entering the vineyard.
The floodgates bear testament to the capacity of the settlers to utilise existing resources in a sustainable manner upon which has been built one of South-Eastern Australia’s premier viticulture regions.
The construction of such simple yet sound irrigation infrastructure in the form of these wooden diversion weirs has sustained the environmental assets of the region that would have been destroyed by less innovative thinking.
Water that has been used for irrigation or is diverted away from crops, drains into the redgum swamps in the region and into Lake Alexandrina, which are part of the Ramsar-listed Coorong and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Wetland of International Importance.