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Goolwa Barrages play a vital role in the management of the Lower Lakes region, relying on automated gates to release water into the River Murray. Read how SAGE Automation remotely fault-find and resolve issues for our client, ensuring this delicate balance is maintained reliably. 





The barrages can be remotely monitored and accessed for fast fault-finding and resolution with less need for travel. In addition, the delicate balance of the ecosystem can be maintained with more reliability. 


Wireless and secure communications, remote monitoring, RTU, SCADA monitoring and control of remote plant.


Goolwa, South Australia

Leigh Angus, Project Manager, SA Water

“The ongoing remote monitoring and support SAGE provides helps to ensure we have greater visibility over the barrages at all times.

This enables SA Water to continue effectively stabilising the water and salinity levels of the Lower Lakes region, which holds economic, social and ecological value for South Australia.”


Goolwa Barrages play a vital role in the health of the River Murray. The barrages stretch between the mainland of South Australia and Hindmarsh Island, maintaining the freshness of the water and protecting the Lower Lakes environment.

There are five separate structures, collectively known as Goolwa Barrages:
• Goolwa
• Mundoo
• Boundary Creek
• Ewe Island, and
• Tauwitchere.
The barrages maintain a weir pool that covers a distance of approximately 270 kilometres, supporting four major public water supply pumping stations.

Across the system of barrages, there are more than 590 openings to help move water during periods of high river flow or when salinity levels of the lakes increase. This complex balance requires gates and stop logs to be opened to allow water out to the Great Australian Bight. SA Water operate and maintain the Goolwa Barrages on behalf of the Murray Darling Basin Authority, ensuring the barrages are working to manage lake levels and improve water quality of the lower Murray.

Water flow regulation between Goolwa and Hindmarsh Island. Image courtesy of the Department for
Environment and Water. 

Many of the barrages use automated gates and control systems to release the water into the River Murray. If there is an issue or fault with the control system, this can cause problems with the release of water. These issues could increase ‘reverse flows’ of seawater into the lakes or allow too much freshwater to flow out. In both cases, this can have a significant environmental impact on the Lower Lakes region and the river. If there is an equipment failure, this can pose a risk to the water quality.


In 2018, SA Water engaged SAGE Automation’s National Operations Centre (NOC) to deliver ongoing remote monitoring and remote support for Goolwa Barrages.

To provide the NOC with the site visibility needed, SA Water utilise SAGE’s Remote Service Module (RSM). The RSM is a portable VPN that connects to the onsite PLC and provides visibility of the control systems operating the barrages.

A technician can connect the RSM and then contact the NOC for specialist support in diagnosing the problem. 

If there is an issue or improvements need to be made, SA Water staff can simply plug in the RSM and contact the NOC. This allows a Senior Service Technician to access the RTU network and diagnose the problem —without needing to travel to the site. This provides the client with faster fault correction and the ongoing cost-benefit of minimising the need for technician travel costs.

Four of the remote barrages in the network utilise solar standalone systems, so the portable RSM can be used to quickly access the SCADA to initially diagnose. It can then be deployed to the remote site and allow access to the PLC so the root cause can be determined.

Some of the key metrics the NOC can monitor include:

  • SCADA system alarms
  • Historical data and trends
  • Equipment health
  • Network health.


Through remote access, SAGE has been able to deliver faster fault-finding.

With a Senior Service Technician able to remotely access the onsite equipment from the NOC, many faults can be identified and corrected without the need for travel time (upwards of three hours) to the site. This has significantly reduced costs for the client.

During the period the NOC has been providing remote monitoring (18 months), technicians have been able to correct a number of faults, provide support during improvements and detect issues. When damage was occurring to cables onsite, SAGE staff were able to detect that this was being caused by local wildlife, allowing the client to find a faster solution.  

Both SA Water and SAGE are able to access the SCADA through smartphones, allowing for better visibility over assets and faster resolution of faults, without the need to be in an office.

With SAGE Automation's remote service, industrial operators can keep critical operations online, resolve faults and improve processes - all without needing technical support to come to the site. Find out more about our remote support services.  



System solutions and benefits

RSM — a portable VPN with cypher and TLS authentication that enables remote access for faster resolution (pictured).

NOC — based at SAGE’s head office in Tonsley, the National Operations Centre (NOC) provides real-time monitoring of assets to deliver operational and maintenance support, as well as fault finding and resolution.

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