THE desperate actions of "vigilantes" who attacked the East Mirrool Regulator (EMR) at Yenda over the weekend have been condemned by local authorities.
Employees of Murrumbidgee Irrigation (MI) discovered on Monday that dirt had been removed from the earthen wall supporting the structure and blows to the ageing concrete had caused extensive damage and cracks through parts of the escape wall.
As a result of the vandalism, water from the main canal was able to escape into Mirrool Creek, leading engineers to label the structure unsafe.
The EMR has been at the centre of much controversy surrounding the devastating flood that struck Yenda last year.
Many residents believe the boards, dirt and concrete which had been installed by MI to stop water leaking into Mirrool Creek caused a much more significant disaster to take place in the town.
Griffith City Council recently requested MI remove one metre of soil from the East Mirrool Regulator as part of its flood management strategy and MI CEO Raveen Jaduram said that work could now be compromised.
"We have consistently stated that we will assist the Griffith Council with their flood management requests," Mr Jaduram said.
"The careless actions of those responsible for this vandalism may have just eliminated the possible use of this structure for flood mitigation purposes if the situation were to arise."
Mr Jaduram said there was no telling what the effects downstream would be if the EMR structure collapsed.
"If this structure collapses, the impacts to the community will be significant," he said.
"Customers downstream will have their irrigation water cut off and won't be able to finish the season's crops.
"As far as the community is concerned, we simply don't know what the failure impacts might be this is a mindless and foolish act."
President of the Yenda Flood Victims Association Paul Rossetto said he was very disturbed over the actions of the vandals for a number of reasons.
"The first reason is, it is highly illegal and I do not condone the actions of the vandals at all," Mr Rossetto said.
"The second reason is that it makes us look bad as a community, we look like vigilantes and the third is that if they take this any further - by using explosives - they could not only injure themselves but they would also take out one of the major canals which is an important piece of infrastructure."
However, Mr Rossetto said he empathised with the actions.
"Having said all that, I entirely understand the frustration and anger in the Yenda community," Mr Rossetto said.
"It will be 12 months next week that we have been waiting for a bureaucratic solution and I entirely empathise with flood victims."
Griffith Police are investigating the incident and Inspector Craig Thorp said a thorough crime scene investigation had taken place with exhibits sent off for forensic examination.
"This case has been referred for follow up by the Rural Crime Investigators," Inspector Thorp said.
"We urge anyone who has any knowledge of this incident to come forward because it is serious."
Anyone with information can call Griffith Police on 6969 4299.