Significant Property Development at Lower Lakes: A Note from Charlotte Ramotswe

Dear Jennifer,

I feel compelled to alert your readers to the significant property developments occurring in the vicinity of the Lower Lakes in South Australia.

There is the canal development on Hindmarsh Island with pictures at this link:
http://tmhi.com.au/home/

The ‘Wellington Marina’ development occurred during the drought. No water at all on these ‘waterfront’ blocks when the levels are minus 1m AHD. And my guess is that even at sea level, hardly a tinny would float. The Wellington development has houses on it that look maybe 10 years old:
http://www.wellingtonmarina.com.au/index.htm

This other one, ‘Mannum Waters’, was approved by the state government during the height of the drought. It’s a big one and the city of Mannum appears to be welcoming it to boost tourism.
http://www.mannumwaters.com.au/

At ‘Milang Bay’ it’s not canal style, but lake front:
http://www.sarahhomes.com.au/land_dev.php#MILANG

Then there is ‘Pelican Shores Estate’, again not canal style either, but dependent on water at Clayton Bay for water views. No website but a lot of blocks for sale.

There must be a lot of money tied up in these developments!

Of course they depend on the river being at an artificially high height above sea level.

What I mean is that these developments depend on the barrages maintaining what you have correctly described as an artificial freshwater lake system.

Most Sincerely
Charlotte Ramotswe

39 Responses to Significant Property Development at Lower Lakes: A Note from Charlotte Ramotswe

  1. John Sayers April 19, 2011 at 6:04 am #

    Interesting – follow the money as they say. The developments at Mannum and Wellington would be advertising boat access to the Lake so any barrage at Wellington would have to have a lock like the current Barrage.. Yet it could be a benefit as the people would then have access to freshwater river fishing and salt water lake and ocean fishing.

    Google earth has a recent (april 2010) image of the lake and it shows the lake to be 0m – sea level yet it’s well back from the shoreline at places like Milang. Surely if opened to the sea it would become tidal.

  2. Sean April 19, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    Charlotte,
    The Wellington Marina was started yonks ago, that’s why the houses look ten years old. I had a look at buying a block but it ran into financial problems. The same people then moved to develop Hindmarsh Island Marina I am sure you would remember the Hindmarsh Island Bridge saga. If you go to Lakes Need Water website and look at the google photo album site of different photos around the Lakes.

  3. Peter R. Smith OAM April 19, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    Hi John,
    Any weir/lock near Wellington should be like Torrumbarry with lock chamber, ability to be completely opened and fish passages as per my web site.
    Hi Charlotte,
    The Marina at Wellington started about a decade ago and I believe was not very successful as it is on the wrong side of Adelaide people and the development at Hindmarsh Island began before that by the Chapman’s.
    Also it is not the city of Mannum (only about 3000 people) and I can assure you as a long time resident of Mannum it is not a popular development accept by the stupid council who really have no idea.
    More people seem to be leaving Mannum than moving in and that is I believe purely because of the council’s inability to have any concern for the ratepayers.

  4. John Sayers April 19, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    Peter – once you build anything at Wellington you make the decision that the lakes will be saline and the river fresh. That’s it.

    It appears you have already thought of this, so what’s the problem?

  5. Peter R. Smith OAM April 20, 2011 at 7:34 am #

    Hi John,
    Nothing could be further from the truth, freshwater when available and as a last resort seawater.

  6. Susan April 20, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    Hi Charlotte,

    It’s all about those water levels. Have you seen the bathymetry maps here
    http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/Conservation/Rivers_wetlands/Coorong_Lower_Lakes_Murray_Mouth/Maps .

    At sea level plus and minus tide and wind seiching, will it suit the real estate developments?

    A weir/lock at Pomanda Point would keep both Mannum Waters and Wellington Marina always full of water, using about 50 GL (amount of water between Lock 1 and Pomanda Point) as compared to 2000 GL to keep them propped up with a freshwater Lake Alexandrina.

  7. Sean April 20, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    Peter,
    Chapmans started Wellington and when that turned into a fizzer they then moved down to Hindmarsh Island. I believe they also looked at a development at Narnu Bay.

    John,
    I think Peter’s theory is a weir/lock at Wellington with the barrages still remaining.

  8. Debbie April 20, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    Sean,
    That is definitely Peter’s theory.

    Peter,
    If you changed ‘as a last resort’ in your solution we could all get closer to some sort of agreement.
    so this:
    ‘Freshwater when available and sea water when it’s not’ would actually sound a bit more reasonable.
    The ‘last resort’ part of your comment means that all possible alternatives which includes water allocations for irrigation farmers would have to be exhausted first.
    You still seem to be missing the fact that when our inflows follow long term averages there will be mostly freshwater in the lakes.
    Your problem and our problem occurs when the inflows go to ‘low sequences’.
    Don’t you think it may be better to let seawater into those lakes to protect them rather than screaming for upstream water (that won’t actually be available) to keep them fresh?
    At least SA has that option.
    We had to watch our lakes and wetlands dry up in the drought.
    It’s amazing how quickly they’ve bounced back however.
    It is actually the human element (in particular broad acre irrigators and their industries and communities) that is still in need of assistance.
    Once ‘mother nature’ decides to deliver, our highly resilient Australian environment can bounce back very quickly.
    That would include your lakes.

  9. Peter R. Smith OAM April 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    Hi Sean,
    I am happy to change, ‘as a last resort’ to, ‘Freshwater when available and sea water when it’s not’ but as for, ‘let seawater into those lakes’ I cannot accept that will protect them as it will kill a mammoth amount of freshwater fish ie, Callop (Golden Perch) and I believe Turtles and some many of other freshwater creatures which live in the freshwater environment including the plant life that cannot survive without freshwater.
    Add to that the $500-Million in industries which rely on the freshwater environment.
    When as it will be in this coming irrigation season hopefully all irrigators with be allocated the full 100% of their licences South Australian irrigators will revert to as they always have if the don’t require the full 100% they will let the rest flow past their pumps.
    I cannot understand why so many people believe that is the answer as the dying whatever will stink for just so long and as the Lakes are kept at an artificial level ie, + 0.75-AHD. To firstly remove the Barrages would cause an environmental disaster as the lakes would drop that .75 of a metre causing massive problems, the boat ramps would be out of the water the Clayton regulator would need to be resurrected as not of the marine craft – or very few – would float and the Hindmarsh Island development would no longer have water front house they may be water front properties but their jetties would be out of the water and their marine crafts sitting on the bottom.
    The Murray Mouth would seal up completely when the lack of flow took effect and it would be doubtful if the tidal movement would keep it open what may happen is the sand carried by the tides must silt it up worse and accept for massive tides ie, king tides which may roll over the sand we in South Australia would have an environmental disaster.
    The irrigators (those still using lake water) would be ruined and the other irrigators who would normally let un used water flow past their pumps would then be selling excess water bringing down the price.
    What an un holy mess!

  10. Sean April 20, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

    Peter, The irrigators should not be using Lower Lakes water they have new pipelines. The irrigators $94 million govt. money and $13 million irrigator money pipeline runs from Jervois through to Currency Creek and the potable water is supplied by extending the Murray Bridge to Strathalbyn pipeline. Lake Albert people were not included in the new irrigation set up they have new pipelines of potable water from Tailem Bend (Must be on the wrong side of the river).
    Peter how did things survive prior to the late 1930’s as you would know salt water reached Mannum in 1915.

  11. Debbie April 21, 2011 at 12:09 am #

    Peter,
    You’re still missing the point.
    This season and when inflows are following long term averages or above, there isn’t a problem for anyone, including the Lakes.
    SA needs to come up with a sensible plan that covers below average inflow years.
    It can’t come from upstream because those water users will have reduced allocations as well.
    That includes the SA farmers, even those on the Lakes.
    We need to learn the lessons that the recent drought has taught us.
    It is just not possible to keep those massive lakes out of danger if we go into another ‘low inflow sequence’.
    You need to understand that the State Water Authorities have adjusted their figures because of the drought and even though the WSPs are being reinstated, they will no longer work the same because they are influenced by new data.
    So, what you want to happen will only be possible in above average years. It would be nice to think that will always happen but we all know that it won’t.
    I’m baffled about some of the reasoning you are using.
    I was of the understanding that the building of the barrages was actually responsible for the slaughter of a large number of tidal/estaurine creatures and plant life?
    I also believe it is those barrages that have contributed to the problems at the mouth because they are only letting scouring happen in one direction?
    There was an ‘unholy mess’ and ‘an environmental disaster’ there anyway because those lakes were sorely abused before the drought finally broke.
    If SA is not able to come up with a sensible plan then you’re in for an unholy mess and an environmental disaster every time we enter low inflow sequences.
    The answer is not to expect water like you have this year. That won’t happen every year.
    The price of water comes down whenever there is an excess. It works on the simple rule of supply and demand.
    I’m not sure what point you were trying to make about the water trade?
    If SA wants to keep the barrages, then SA will have to figure out where to source the water in low flow years.
    It can’t come from upstream unless you kick irrigation farmers out of the storage dams.
    If SA tries to do it that way, that’s when you will have the Eastern States interfering.
    I still think SA is not looking at the extra option that only SA has.
    No other MDB state has the option of using seawater to augment its wetlands.

  12. Peter R. Smith OAM April 21, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    Hi Sean,
    The pipelines do not supply every irrigator and if they use those pipelines the cost of water is totally prohibitive far more expensive that their irrigation licence water.
    Before the 1930’s prior to the building or finishing of the Locks and Barrages the businesses around Lakes Alexandrina and Albert were few and far and not totally reliant on the Lakes for water. The construction of the Locks and Barrages gave the opportunity for the area to thrive. Sean we are talking about the now not the then.
    Hi Debbie,
    I am certainly Not missing the point!
    I will begin by agreeing that, ‘If SA wants to keep the barrages, then SA will have to figure out where to source the water in low flow years’ yes Sa must make inroads into the solution but the Lakes Alexandrina and Albert are part of the Murray Darling Basin and I was of the opinion that the Murray Darling Basin Authority were tasked with the authority to put together a plan for the Basin and whilst there is still no set plan we must continue to discuss all possibilities and then the Federal Government – oxymoron – will decide on the best course of action and until then we will continue to be at odds with each other but when it is all set in concrete we will have to as Australians work within that legislations.
    ‘I was of the understanding that the building of the barrages was actually responsible for the slaughter of a large number of tidal/estaurine creatures and plant life?’ yes that may be correct but are we about to turn back the clock and doing all over again as things are far different than they were prior to the constructions of the Locks and Barrages.
    ‘No other MDB state has the option of using seawater to augment its wetlands’ and would they if they had the opportunity totally change the wetlands environment by destroying them with seawater?

  13. John Sayers April 21, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    Sure Peter but no other State has destroyed it’s estuarine environments either. As Jen said – look at Rockhampton, Tweed Heads, Ballina, etc etc. All perfectly functioning saline environments yet still providing fresh water for local towns etc.

    (BTW – I’m off to Rockhampton next week to visit the CQUniversity of Queensland)

  14. Debbie April 21, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    Peter,
    I am sorry if I sound rude but you along with the M D B A have missed the point.
    Your solution and the only plan they have on the table at present will require massive cuts to established irrigation practices including S A farmers.
    It won’t happen in years like this. It will happen when inflows don’t follow long term averages.
    The bit you’re missing is your lakes will also be in exactly the same danger.
    The M D B A have only purchased and saved General Security entitlements.
    When inflows are low, those entitlements do not have allocations attached to them.
    Their plan and your plan will interfere in established irrigation practices in average to above average years and all of us will be back in the same bad place in below average years.
    Your plan will cause more angst for everyone, including yourself.
    There is not enough storage for you to have it both ways.
    All that will happen is our water bureaucracies will invent water out of thin air to appear as if they’re complying to the legislation.
    There won’t be any actual water to allocate to those entitlements.
    It might look good on paper and in your mind.
    It won’t work in the real M DB world.

  15. Susan April 21, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    Construction of the locks and barrages allowed the DAIRY industry to expand at the cost of several other interests that the lakes could now be used for. For example, eco-tourism, recreational sailing, and commercial fishing.

    SA Water spent $120 Million installing pipelines to Lower Lake irrigators and communities. That’s one reason my water bill in Adelaide has also gone up. In the metro area we’re now paying $2.98 per kL, so excuse me, but ‘dittums’. It should now be against the law to pump from Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina.

    Cows along the fragile lake edge are an environmental disaster and these dairy and beef cattle farmers should be held to account for it. Talk about the increase in water turbidity.

    You should see the disgusting mess left behind from the herds of cattle allowed to go to the edge of Lake Alex. The windsurfers at Boggy Lake basically get to sail in watered down cow poop.

    We can and should turn the clock back Peter. Clean up the mess for future generations.

  16. Johnathan Wilkes April 21, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    I have followed this discussion with interest and read most of the links provided.

    I know, my opinion is of no concern to anyone but I say it anyway, it seems to me that this is a classic case of “it looked like a good idea at the time” situation, that has gone wrong and now everyone else but US has to pay for it.

    I really can’t see why the barrages should not be opened, so far, apart from self interest and motherhood statements I read nothing compelling to convince me otherwise.

    The pipeline could and probably should have been built instead of the barrages in the first place, would have served the purpose of job creation at the time just as well.

    The argument that when something goes wrong but it’s a fait-accompli and now so we can’t go back is totally wrong and wasteful.

    Just look at the Victorian police database debacle for an example, for various reasons, so much money was spent trying to fix a dog of a software that now they have no more money to buy a new one.

    Is this the future for the lakes? Do we have to waste huge amounts of water to top up the evaporating lakes, when a much better solution is available?

  17. Debbie April 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    Good for you Jonathon,
    Common sense seems to be the major casualty here.
    The M D B A and apparently Peter think that we can solve our end of system flow issues by pushing a magic button on a magic cistern and just FLUSH.
    It appears as if they have absolutely no practical understanding of the WSPs or that our current storage systems are incapable of doing what they expect.
    If we are in for more dry inflow sequences as their settled science predicts then those lakes are in more and more danger.
    It wont matter if they take up all the current storage capacity, they still wont be able to save those lakes in dry inflow or low inflow years.
    SA has already got an unholy mess and an environmental disaster. Nothing that we have seen so far has a hope of fixing it.

  18. el gordo April 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    Johnathan, all you say is true and no doubt Luke would agree that hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    The building of the barrages after the start of WW2 is odd, but then I suppose the lead-up time for any major construction meant that it was decided during the Depression years.

    ‘The pipeline could and probably should have been built instead of the barrages in the first place, would have served the purpose of job creation at the time just as well.’

    Interesting point…time to go a googling to see what I can find.

  19. Johnathan Wilkes April 21, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    el gordo
    I too agree that hindsight is a wonderful thing.
    But my point was that if we made a mistake don’t be afraid of going back to square one and start again.

    After all if you look a this situation realistically, you can’t possibly argue that by changing the environment from estuarine, which existed for at least 6000 years, to a mostly fresh water one, the ecosystem adopted to the changed environment in far less than 70 years.
    Probably less then ten in fact, if that.

    What makes you think that a change back to the original is something impossible then?
    Why would it be so?

    Undesirable by some? Yes I grant you that, but I don’t like a lot of things happening around me either but I have to put up with it just the same.
    And as the lady told Michael Willesee once “tough tities”

  20. Peter R. Smith OAM April 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Hi John S,
    The comment, “Sure Peter but no other State has destroyed it’s estuarine environments either” is not really correct we South Australia did not alone make the decision to install the Barrages as the original plan was for 26 Locks the last near Wellington (please don’t always blame SA).
    Hi Debbie,
    Re the MDB A plan on the table it is far from set in concrete so I would hope common sense will prevail but it may be fact that all irrigators may lose some of their allocations, we have to fix the Basin now!
    My plan, it’s not mine it’s the Guide to the Plan by the MDB A at this stage my plan is to have an Environmental Impact Statement undertaken into the construction of a Lock near Wellington and let the MDB A continue to engage the community prior finalising the plan.
    Hi Susan,
    The comment, ‘Construction of the locks and barrages allowed the DAIRY industry to expand at the cost of several other interests that the lakes could now be used for’ yes it was the decision of the policy makers who realised that the Lower River Murray swamps were some of the best dairy land in the Basin and had been since the levies were constructed in the 1880’s. That resulted in hundreds of dairy’s becoming some of the best in the country but now sadly over a hundred are gone and much of that land is now cracked open and a saline mess. Those would worked those dairy’s are gone and gone broke, the staff have moved on and the factories closed but in the thinking of so many, so what!
    SA Water did not spend, ‘$120 Million installing pipelines to Lower Lake irrigators and communities’ much of the infrastructure was paid for by the Commonwealth and as to the cost of water, remember we don’t pay for the water only the delivery of the water so if you are an irrigator in those areas your water is now supplied by Government infrastructure. The problem is that when irrigators pumped their own it only cost them the licence fee and their own pumping costs but now some of them a paying upwards of $100,000 for the same entitlement.
    And if any stock are close to the water ie, on floodplain etc that is illegal and the Government (EPA) must enforce the law.
    The comment, ‘We can and should turn the clock back Peter. Clean up the mess for future generations’ on only truth in that comment is we should, ‘Clean up the mess for future generations’ yes we MUST.
    Hi John W,
    ‘self interest and motherhood statements’ well the self interests must be aligned into one, one agreed plan for a continued future ensuring any changes are for the best of Australia. Just opening the Barrages WILL NOT just solve all the problems as if that were the case they could be opened but what about the Lower River Murray Lock 1 – Blanchetown – to the entrance to Lake Alexandrina?
    Hi Debbie,
    How ridiculous, ‘Good for you Jonathon, Common sense seems to be the major casualty here’ when are the rest of Australia going to realise that is far more far reaching than the Motherhood statement? I have and will never believe, ‘think that we can solve our end of system flow issues by pushing a magic button on a magic cistern and just FLUSH’ that’s crap! How many more times do I have to say I have never expected any storage space being put aside for the Lakes!
    Hi el gordo,
    Yes, ‘hindsight is a wonderful thing’ but it just doesn’t alter the problem, as previously stated we must all agree before the proper action is initiated.
    Hi Johnathan W,
    The comment, ‘And as the lady told Michael Willesee once “tough tities” but tough titties for who, which particular group or Australia?

  21. Johnathan Wilkes April 22, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    Peter

    the “tough tities” was probably uncalled for, but reading your replies and the various proposals
    put forward by govnmt. and other bodies got me frustrated.

    You may scoff at Debbie’s post but the simple fact is that amongst the vested interests involved in this, there will never be a mutually agreed, satisfactory for all, outcome!

    So yes, it will be “tough tities” for some.

    As usual the strongest, loudest, most influential, will probably win, and if I know how committees and government bodies work, it also will be dog’s breakfast of a solution, to be revisited in an other 20 to 50 years time.

  22. el gordo April 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    ‘….we must all agree before the proper action is initiated.’

    That won’t be necessary, if there is political will it can be resolved before the next decade long drought. The decision to pull down the barrages will take awhile to sort out, probably as long as it took to build them.

    ‘And if any stock are close to the water ie, on floodplain etc that is illegal and the Government (EPA) must enforce the law.’

    In that one line I see the skeleton of a film script.

  23. Debbie April 22, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    But Peter,
    If you expect those lakes to remain fresh at all times, where on earth do you think the water is going to come from in average to below average years?
    Just because you don’t personally believe it should come from existing storage facilities is not a satisfactory answer.
    That is the ONLY (repeat THE ONE AND ONLY) plan that is getting any serious consideration at this present moment.
    You also said:
    but it may be fact that all irrigators may lose some of their allocations, we have to fix the Basin now!
    If all irrigators lose some of their allocations….WHERE DO YOU THINK THAT IS COMING FROM????
    Also…what on earth do you mean by ‘we have to fix the basin now’?
    Which bit is broken now?
    I think you have got the ‘basin’ mixed up with ‘the lower lakes’ haven’t you?
    They are of course a part of the MDB and they certainly are vulnerable because they have been seriously interfered with and they are situated at ‘the bottom of the drain’.
    They are however only one geographical feature of a large and complex system and ultimately no more or no less important than any other.
    You also can’t pretend that they are ‘natural’. They have been modified to suit man made agendas. Recent history has proved that it isn’t working out that well.
    The whole MDB argument is becoming sillier by the day.
    The ‘scientific theories’ and the ‘predictictive computer models’ are failing as each month passes.
    Our climate and our extremely resilient environmental assets have refused to cooperate with the models.
    To keep trying to defend the predictive models and claim that emerging ‘real data’ or ‘raw data’ is incorrect is completely UNSCIENTIFIC and looks increasingly indefensible.
    Seriously…everyone needs to come out to the MDB and see first hand how our ‘natural’ environmental assets and our native fauna and flora has bounced back in a spectacular fashion.
    The basic assumptions in The Water Act 2007 and the resultant MDBP are flawed and therefore their conclusions are flawed.
    The real lesson and the real problem out here is….listen carefully Peter…..
    It is rural communities and their man made environments (NOT THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENTAL ASSETS!!!!!) which are not able to survive a prolonged drought.
    If we use man made assets to tip water into either completely natural assets or worse, man made stuff ups, WE ARE SOLVING THE WRONG PROBLEM and also WE ARE USING THE WRONG RESOURCES TO DO IT!!!!
    Mother Nature has just proved that ‘The natural environment’ can easily cope with a prolonged drought.
    Don’t believe me? Come out and have a look. It is nothing short of spectacular.
    It is time that our politicians and bureaucrats (and unfortunately well meaning people like you Peter) !!! WOKE UP!!!!! and had a look at what’s really happening.
    As Motty often says, for fox ache!

  24. John Sayers April 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    Hi Peter – I have a problem with your statement that the lake is 750mm higher due to the Barrages and to remove them would lower the lake by that amount.

    The Milang jetty was built for the Paddle Steamers before the barrages so surely if the lakes are returned to sea water (i.e. as it was pre the barrages) the jetty should still function correctly – same at Goolwa and Meningie which all have jetties that were built for the paddle steamers and still exist.

    BTW hasn’t there been a 200mm sea level rise since then anyway?

  25. Debbie April 22, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    John,
    I also had a problem with that one but thought that because I am not a Lakeside South Australian I did not have the right to comment.
    However, seeing as you now have commented…:)
    In other estaurine or tidal environments I have visited, they construct ‘floating jetties’ that move up and down with the variable water depths.
    They seem to work extremely well and also seem to be very safe because they are always at the right level for the docked craft.
    Wouldn’t they satisfactorily solve that particular problem?
    I also believe they are relatively easy to construct and relatively inexpensive?
    Certainly much cheaper than ‘all irrigators losing some of their allocations’ to keep the lakes fresh and at a consistent level?
    Seems a smarter solution to me anyway.

  26. Peter R. Smith OAM April 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    Hi Johnathan W,
    You are most certainly correct, ‘As usual the strongest, loudest, most influential, will probably win, and if I know how committees and government bodies work, it also will be dog’s breakfast of a solution, to be revisited in
    another 20 to 50 years time.
    It saddens me that the political strength is vested in the Eastern States as is most bi business and we in SA will as always disregarded.
    Hi el gordo,
    As above you are correct with, ‘‘….we must all agree before the proper action is initiated.’ That won’t be necessary, if there is political will it can be resolved before the next decade long drought. The decision to pull down the barrages will take awhile to sort out, probably as long as it took to build them’ the Lower River Murray is really only living on borrowed time.
    And yes, ‘And if any stock are close to the water ie, on floodplain etc that is illegal and the Government (EPA) must enforce the law. The EPA the most powerful statutory ’body in SA with no guts!
    Hi Debbie,
    Regarding the Basin, ‘‘we have to fix the basin now’? Which bit is broken now?’ come off it if we don’t settle with a Basin Plan acceptable to all, and maybe a little pain, this fight will continue to be a political hot football for ever.
    We will only get one opportunity but it won’t matter I have lived my 65-years loving the River and I am happy I have seen it at its best and worst.
    As for, ‘I think you have got the ‘basin’ mixed up with ‘the lower lakes’ haven’t you? No way I am totally committed to the River Murray and the Basin which when the SA Vice-President of the Murray Darling Association and now gets me in to so much trouble I try to look at the BASIN which is part of Australia.
    Please don’t put me in the same category as ‘politicians & bureaucrats’, ‘It is time that our politicians and bureaucrats (and unfortunately well meaning people like you Peter) !!! WOKE UP!!!!! and had a look at what’s really happening. I am my own person beholding to NO ONE and I have been travelling and looking throughout the Basin from far North to the South and West at every opportunity I am able and all being well will drive through much of the Basin when travelling to Dalby later this year.
    I attempt to be fair minded and think of Australia as one big country we all must protect and as when I wore the Australian Army uniform I was doing it on behalf of Australia and I don’t apologise in any way for what I believe.
    Hi John S,
    In accepting your comment you are of course right, but when the big droughts came and they did nothing floating travelled along the Basin.
    Hi Debbie,
    Re your comment to John, it won’t matter what type of jetties are constructed if the Murray Mouth is closed (completely blocked) it won’t matter.

    A comment about what the 25th April is all about to me, this is how I view this country and my commitment as an ex-serviceman, A digger is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank cheque made payable to ‘AUSTRALIA’ for an amount of ‘up to and including my life’ my time will be up and I just hope the Basin continues to thrive.
    But I add, ‘That is Honour, and there are way too many foreigners in this country who don’t understand it.’
    I will pick up on Wednesday after the march, cheers!

  27. John Sayers April 22, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

    “Hi John S,
    In accepting your comment you are of course right, but when the big droughts came and they did nothing floating travelled along the Basin.”

    Pardon?

  28. Debbie April 23, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    Peter,
    Come off it?
    You obviously missed the point.
    The only assets that are still struggling since the end of the drought are the man made assets or the assets that have been interfered with by man.
    The natural environmental assets are just fine and have bounced back in a truly spectacular fashion.
    The argument is about which of those man made assets will get priority in the available storage space in the next run of dry inflow years.
    The recent drought has just taught us that we dont have enough storage to supply the total demand.
    You are espousing the same end of system flow argument that the M D B A is. You and they are pretending that those lakes are a natural environmental asset. They are not.
    The only way you can keep them fresh in low inflow years is to deny access to established upstream irrigation practices.
    A weir at Wellington will only delay that inevitable result if S A is unwilling to accept that it should investigate using the seawater option when fresh water is not being supplied by mother nature.
    If SA wants fresh water to keep their lakes unnaturally fresh when there is no excess fresh water available, then we are always going to be at odds with each other. There is not enough storage available to supply both needs. There isnt a bit of pain for everyone solution.

  29. Susan April 25, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    I went through the Goolwa Lock yesterday, the barrages are ‘open’ with tides going in and out through the barrage openings. If you were in a low canoe you could slide under a barrage ledge without using the Lock since the water levels are the same on each side.

    There was a seal sitting on a concrete ledge on the seaward side of the Lock gate.

    As we went past the Murray Mouth and into the Coorong, it was 30 feet deep according to our fish finder. Seems like the fresh water flows and the tides are doing a decent job of keeping the mouth open at the moment.

  30. Debbie April 25, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Exactly Susan!
    There is no problem for any of us, including the Lakes when Mother Nature decides to deliver.
    The MDBA and Peter seem to be missing that simple fact.
    Mother Nature can also deliver for your beautiful Lakes when the rains don’t come in the MDB.
    We will still be in trouble out here, but you don’t need to be.
    I can’t understand why they want to put those Lakes in danger when it really isn’t necessary.
    It is just a simple matter of opening minds to the possibilities (as well as the barrages 🙂 )
    We have the technology to come up with a much better solution than the one that is being pushed at the moment.
    I actually think they’re a little annoyed with ‘Mother Nature’ for fixing up the problem before they could finish arguing their alarmist case and demanding the ‘fresh water only’ solution.
    She is just SOOOOO uncooperative with anyone who is conceited enough to think they have her pegged!
    I hope you’re all enjoying the return of plenty down there as we are out here?

  31. Peter R. Smith OAM April 26, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    Hi John S,
    During the Federation Drought when the River Murray was reduced to a series of pools no marine craft could move in either direction! They are many times recorded when the Paddle Steamers were stranded. The pity is that the level of the River required for Paddle Steamers to ply their trade was the level held above Lock 1 in SA during the drought!
    Hi Debbie,
    The comment, ‘Come off it? You obviously missed the point’ it is plainly obvious that your point and mine are vastly different. Yes, the man-made assets have suffered that is correct the man-made assets throughout the Murray Darling Basin and I have continually agreed we do not have the storage required to always maintain the Lakes Alexandrina and Albert. I do not agree with the MDB A I am just letting them come up with what they believe are the solutions to the problems throughout the MDB.
    If seawater is allowed into Lake Alexandrina and a weir is not constructed near Wellington, I reiterate, the Lower River Murray below Lock 1 at Blanchetown will be unusable for human consumption and irrigation South Australia’s main pipelines will become starved of potable water.
    I do not agree there, ‘There isn’t a bit of pain for everyone solution’ I ask you does not any pain need to be shared as Australians.
    Hi Susan,
    Yes isn’t it wonderful but when the great high flows from the River cease will the River’s mouth remain open or will it be blocked as before?
    Hi Debbie,
    You continue your statement that I have missed the point, well I have not missed your point but you don’t or won’t understand my point of view!
    But can I ask again if are going to have a decent MDB Plan to take us well into the future – as Australians – are you saying there needs to be no pain felt by anyone?

  32. Susan April 26, 2011 at 11:17 am #

    Peter,

    As the freshwater river flows slow, the tides would come in keeping the mouth open.

    Except the barrages are not only blocking the tides from coming in, the barrages reduce the size of the Murray Estuary reducing the tidal prism.

    And if you go and check the history department at the Alexandrina library, while those paddle steamers were waiting for the high tide so they could move up the Murray, the men fished for mulloway.

    That is before the barrages changed the ecology to benefit farmers instead of fishers.

    People all over the world live alongside estuaries and benefit from the unique ecosystem where fresh and salt waters mix.

    And you still haven’t given me a place elsewhere in the world where there are barrages or seawater dams in place… I’m still waiting….

  33. Peter R. Smith OAM April 26, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Hi Susan,
    Yes, “the barrages are not only blocking the tides from coming in, the barrages reduce the size of the Murray Estuary reducing the tidal prism” and I agree but as I have said time and time again are the Federal and State Government and the Murray darling Basin Authority prepared to wind back the clock destroy the lives of those who rely on freshwater for their and their families future?
    On top of that destroy some $500Million of industry and business that are set up around both Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert.
    But of course the biggie is threaten SA’s principle potable water supply as is seawater is allowed to invade the Lower River Murray.
    If you want an estuarine (which it never was) environment be prepared in times of drought for the Murray Mouth to close.
    The paddle steamers had to wait for water to flow down the River Murray and yes the fishing may have been great but we rely on many varies of food!
    We don’t have a natural river as all the way from the source the River Murray has been irreversibly alter.
    Re, “And you still haven’t given me a place elsewhere in the world where there are barrages or seawater dams in place… I’m still waiting….” and you will continue to wait as I have never alluded anywhere else as an example!

  34. Debbie April 26, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    Yes that is right Peter,
    There does not need to be pain for anyone.
    We just need to open our minds and create the political will to source more storage and infrastructure.
    The plans and technology are readily available.
    The barrages were very likely a mistake and we may need to turn back the clock.
    That does not mean that business and investment needs to be disadvantaged.
    An open mind and political will are the missing ingredients.
    The MDBA are way off target in fairy land.
    Their solution wont work and will require massive pain and financial loss.
    You keep quoting them so it appears you basically agree with them.
    I sincerely apologise if that is not the case.
    Unfortunately your solution sounds remarkably like their end of system flow argument.
    Your fresh water solution also sounds remarkably similar to their false assumption that the lower lakes have a fresh water history.

  35. Peter R. Smith OAM April 27, 2011 at 6:42 am #

    Hi Debbie,
    Let’s get one thing settled now and forever, I quote the MDB A because they have been tasked by this, non caring about the community, Federal Government to come up with a workable – for all Australians – plan for the MDB. I do not agree with the Guide to the MDB Plan but it is a beginning, a start, open to community for submissions it is the beginning along a hard road to a workable solution.
    If we turn back the clock and remove the Barrages, well talk about pain, below Lock 1 the pain for a countless amount of South Australians will be too much to bear!
    The Lakes Alexandrina and Albert do have a ‘Freshwater History’ they were tidal and when the River Murray was in full flow the mouth remained open as water rushed out to the Southern Ocean but in times of drought with no flow the seawater poured into Lakes Alexandrina then Lake Albert and up the River Murray and seawater fish were caught as far up the River Murray as Younghusband.

  36. Susan April 27, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    For anyone interested in just what type of industry is below Lock One, the MDBA did do this analysis of the businesses affected here: it’s a big file..

    http://download.mdba.gov.au/AppendixC_SA_River_Murray_below_Lock_1.pdf

    People can cope with a change back to an estuary Peter. We can use technology and engineering to be smart about protecting the fresh water supplies, ie. a Lock 0. We can learn to boat on the tides. The dairying industry can change to dryland dairy practices, etc.

    It does not have to be an absolute black and white argument of winners and losers. And by restoring the estuary, SA has much to gain.

    What is an absolute losing solution is to let the Lakes dry down to below sea level, as has happened in this last drought because we in SA are too stubborn to change.

    A dry, acid dust bowl of a lake is no lake at all and of no use to anyone.

  37. debbie April 27, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    Peter,
    I realise you did misunderstand one of the things I wrote because I didn’t write it clearly.
    My apologies.
    We definitely should have the weir at Wellington, I think that’s smart.
    What I also meant was that is only part of a good solution.
    If you only build the Weir and then leave everything the same and expect the Lakes to still be fresh in low inflow sequences, then you have only delayed the inevitable.
    What Susan highlights above is in your future if you don’t also use other smart technology solutions and realise that you do at least have another option to rescue those Lakes from becoming a dry acid dustbowl.
    If we stop assuming that the seawater option is nothing but pain for SA and realise there is much to gain if it is done with a good plan in mind, then almost anything is possible.
    We both agree there will not be enough storage to supply all demands under the present system.
    Susan is right, it does not need to be an absolute black and white argument of winners and losers.
    That is actually a rather counter-productive and negative place to start don’t you think?
    Why does anyone have to suffer pain?
    SA doesn’t deserve pain any more than anyone else.
    The problem is we will fight over a limited resource if we don’t first recognise there are better ways to store more water, better ways to save more water and better ways to manage the excesses of drought and flooding rains.
    I repeat, the MDBA are off with the fairies.
    They’re trying to legislate to manage natural events….that is rather conceited and probably impossible don’t you think?
    That will always be ‘mother nature’s job.
    She has just recently proved it.

  38. Peter R. Smith OAM April 27, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    Hi Susan,
    Thank you, but as I have said to investigate let’s start and have an EIS into Lock 0 but alas no one wants to listen.
    Yes changes can occur and can work but when I had a meeting with the SA Minister for the River Murray I may as well of been speaking to the wall.
    Thanks again Susan.
    Hi Debbie,
    Thank you, we do need a regulator built in the Lower River Murray and as I said to Susan (above) my group will continue seeking an EIS.
    Let’s try to get the power’s to be understand so then whatever they propose can be properly investigated in preparation!

  39. Sean April 30, 2011 at 12:41 am #

    Peter,
    You will not get an EIS on salt water. The closest we have got was a meeting in the Fresh Water Embassy at Milang last year when Donna Ferretti S.A. Water Principal Planner Seawater EIS spoke to a small meeting. Mr. Holmes will not allow it to happen his main concern is to manage the health of the Lakes “the weir relates entirely to Adelaide’s water supply. It isn’t a device to manage the Lakes, ” he said. Donna Ferretti has not forwarded anymore information since that meeting to at least four people I have kept in contact despite requesting contact details.

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