Talking Turkey, But Not About the Barrages

ONCE upon a time there was a turkey that lived in a pen. Every morning a farmer brought food and water and talked to the turkey with soothing words.

The turkey thought it was special and would always be looked after.

Then one Christmas Eve, the farmer came with an axe instead of food.

Many organisations in rural Australia behave like turkeys. They are happily taking money from government believing they will keep getting fed. Of course government is handing out a lot of money at the moment.

In return, organisations might complain publicly just a bit about government. But mostly these organisations keep sending their representatives off to meetings and their leaders happily sit down with Ministers who feed them soothing words.

All the while, at the behest of environmental groups, Commonwealth and State governments, whether Coalition or Labour, have continued in the past decade or two to enact regulation and legislation that undermines food production.

It’s justified on the basis that environmentalists are the good guys, while farmers exploit natural resources for profit.

In the next few months there is an opportunity for some farm organisations to stop behaving as turkeys and instead bite the hand that has fed them so generously over the last year. It would involve calling the bluff of the Commonwealth Government over the Murray Darling water plan.

Instead of complaining politely about the plan on the basis industry might lose some water, what about rural leaders pointing out the obvious: that the plan will deliver no environmental benefit until something is done about the 7.6 kilometres of concrete barrage that sits across the bottom of the Lower Lakes?

Anyone vaguely familiar with this issue knows that Murray Darling Basin Authority boss Craig Knowles and Water Minister Tony Burke – and even Opposition leader Tony Abbot and Opposition water spokesman Barnaby Joyce – don’t want the issue of the barrages or the Lower Lakes raised in polite discussion.

It could cost them votes in South Australia. So industry and community leaders leave it well alone.

But with the New Year it’s time for a new approach: it’s time industry leaders took the high moral ground for once and confronted the issue of the barrages that have destroyed the River Murray’s estuary.

And while they are doing the right thing, they should sign the Rivers Need Estuaries petition of the Australian Environment Foundation www.listentous.org.au .

******
First published in The Land, page 13, Thursday, January 5, 2012

119 Responses to Talking Turkey, But Not About the Barrages

  1. John Sayers January 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    Done Jen – good to see they have a proper petition system with email verification.

  2. Geoff Brown January 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    Good wake up post, Jen! Thank you

  3. Debbie January 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    Well said Jen,
    The petition does look like it’s gaining momentum. I have spotted many hard copies and it has been sent to me many times.
    Love the analogy. Gobble gobble gobble is pretty much what gets said and heard way too much.
    The good news is some of the rep organisations are starting to focus on and talk about the management of the lower lakes.
    Good for you for staying consistent and persistent on this issue.

  4. George B January 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    I noticed this at a blog in the UK that might be relevant to this discussion:

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/hans-schreuder-submission-to-parliament-commended-by-ruth-lea/

    21. There is no justification for the UK to seek the role of the Pied Piper in leading an ever diminishing band of climate lemmings over the cliffs of climate alarmism onto the hard rocks of reality far below. The Europeans will rue the day they spent their savings on energy chimeras. Canada has shown the way forward by renouncing the Kyoto protocol, time to follow that lead is now, right now, at the beginning of 2012.

  5. Dave Shorter January 14, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    Good post Jennifer.
    I would love to know what the humanitarian footprint of the green jihad against production is.With a billion malnourished people in the world it is not possible to take renewable resources away from production without adding to the sum of human misery.With all the land lock ups and water buy backs we must be feeding millions fewer people than we could be.
    Environmentalists need to be shown up not only for their misanthropic and racist disdain for poor consumers but their bullying and schadenfreude for producers too.

  6. John Sayers January 15, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    I’ve been checking the Real Estate value of Hindmarsh Island.

    Not looking good.

    http://www.realestate.com.au/buy/in-hindmarsh+island%2c+sa+5214/list-1

  7. Peter R. Smith OAM January 15, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    Hi John Sayers, Geoff Brown, Debbie, Dave Shorter,
    Like sheep to slaughter following your pied piper (Jennifer M.) sign the petition and be like to other 97% who have signed it, that 97% from upstream of Lock 1 and how many of them have firstly visited the region and secondly understand the region what a mob of idiots.
    Jennifer please put up the alternative or is it just remove the Barrages and sheel be right?
    Hi George B,
    This blog is not about Climate Change get on the right page!

  8. Debbie January 15, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    Peter,
    I think you may be surprised at the number of SA signatures. Online is not the only place this petition is being signed.
    You also may be surprised how much people do understand. Remember that the lower Murray is part of the whole basin and as you often point out, we all affect each other.
    This petition also calls for Lock zero, which is something you support.
    It is not as ominous as you are claiming.

  9. John Sayers January 15, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    I’ve visited the region, I’ve fished and sailed on the muddy water that you call a lake.

  10. John Sayers January 15, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    an interesting aspect is the real estate. Here’s Hindmarsh Island………all that new housing investment going down the drain?

    http://www.realestate.com.au/buy/in-hindmarsh+island%2c+sa+5214/list-1

  11. Peter R. Smith OAM January 16, 2012 at 3:41 am #

    Hi John,
    I am pleased that you enjoyed sailing in Lake Alexandrina; I hope the exercise was enlightening!
    Whilst you were there and ask the locals, and that is not those there to sail, do they want the seawater to invade that Lake?
    It is easy to critised the development on Hindmarsh Island is that knocking the tall poppy syndrome?
    This is not about development it’s about the future and the security of the region to prosper through all facets of life environmentally and economically into the future.
    If this was just about real estate and fishing the answers would be simple just pull out the Barrages but the ramifications of that are disastrous!

  12. Binny January 16, 2012 at 7:53 am #

    Agri-politics in a nutshell!

    Always keep in mind that farmers without problems don’t need agri-politicians to represent them.
    So enjoy the nice comfortable junkets, but don’t rock the boat (too much)

  13. Debbie January 16, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Well said Binny,
    Farmers would prefer to be left alone. They would much prefer not to need help. Agri politics is almost an oxymoron.
    It is really only when common sense appears to have deserted that farmers do elect to become political. In this particular case, farmers are being used as cannon fodder. Most of the stuff we’re hearing does appear to sound like gobbling turkeys. Often unfortunately from their own reps 🙂

  14. Marc January 16, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    Happy new year to all.

    The statement ‘that the plan will deliver no environmental benefit until something is done about the 7.6 kilometres of concrete barrage that sits across the bottom of the Lower Lakes?’; to me is a very poor, intellectually thoughtless argument. Clearly, the basin is much bigger than the ecological systems of the lower reaches of the Murray and to say that water ‘not removed’ from the system in up-stream catchments won’t result in any environmental benefits as it flows through the catchment is clearly wrong.

    Jen, you appear to be a bit obsessed with the barrages at the expense of the bigger picture. I have stated before that I am in principal supportive of the well considered removal or part thereof of the barrages, however not blinded by it at the expense of the need for basin-wide reforms and changes.

    Furthermore, access to safe, clean water for the fulfilment of basic human needs is clearly a right, which does of course include the production of staple foods from that water. In order to achieve this a healthy, whole-of-basin approach and systemic objective is required. The mafia-like attitude and behaviour of some in the basin over their ‘ownership’ to water is crippling required changes. Where profiteering, dressed up as social responsibility or ‘feeding/clothing the world’ is purported, access to water should be treated as a privilege, not right.

  15. Rayvic January 16, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Jennifer is right once again.

    Aussie farmers have done themselves great injustices by not standing up for themselves, i.e. by being turkeys. They are leaders in adopting cutting-edge technology and world best practice, but come out second best commercially to farmers in other countries who exert greater influence on their respective politicians. The treatment of Aussie sugar growers is a case in point. They were promised the world by the Coalition when it negotiated the free trade agreement with the USA, but the US sugar farmers managed to retain their price subsidies, while the Aussie sugar farmers, by placing (actually misplacing) trust in the Coalition and Queensland Labor governments and being exploited by CSR, eventually were forced to accept being paid on parity with dumped world sugar prices, and this has persisted.

    The environmentalists are certainly not good guys. They are ideologically driven and science-illiterate, and clearly anti-farming. Farmers should be aware that the enviromentalists have the ear of the politicians. How else could a bunch of misinformed politicians be conned into believing in man-made global warming and passing the draconian carbon dioxide tax, which will disadvantage every Australian industry and thereby lower our standard of living, yet do nothing for the environment.

    Murray-Darling farmers must not allow themselves to be taken for turkeys by the politicians, especially by two-faced politician-farmers such as Tony Windsor. They must wake up and fight much harder for themselves. Their taking up the fight on the issue of the barrages or the Lower Lakes would be a good starting point.

  16. Debbie January 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    Marc,
    A privilige bestowed upon them by whom?
    If you have followed Jen’s posts on the MDB you would know she is fully aware that it is not just about the barrages.
    Are you aware however how pivotal the supply and management of the LRM is? The recent drought has taught us that what needs to bappen there is not sustainable in times of low inflow.

  17. Debbie January 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    Also Marc,
    May I suggest if you support the well thought out removal or part thereof of the barrages that you sign the petition?
    That is what the petition is about.

  18. Peter R. Smith OAM January 16, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    Hi Marc,
    It’s is good to know that I am not the only person on this blog who is not supporting the Barrages removal and I totally agree, “Jen, you appear to be a bit obsessed with the barrages at the expense of the bigger picture”
    Regarding, “I have stated before that I am in principal supportive of the well considered removal or part thereof of the barrages” if any removal of, “part thereof of the barrages” the lot would have to be removed as the seawater would invade through where the Barrages were removed from!
    I really like, “Furthermore, access to safe, clean water for the fulfillment of basic human needs is clearly a right, which does of course include the production of staple foods from that water. In order to achieve this a healthy, whole-of-basin approach and systemic objective is required” you are spot on!
    Re, “access to water should be treated as a privilege, not right” we must remember that the irrigators paid for their right to water and it must be supplied when it is available but Human and stock water comes first followed by permanent plantings but the access to potable is a right!
    Hi Rayvic,
    Re, “Jennifer is right once again” wrong!
    The irrigation/farming industries must fight for what is right but, “Their taking up the fight on the issue of the barrages or the Lower Lakes would be a good starting point’ is crap!

  19. Peter R. Smith OAM January 16, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Hi Marc,
    Re that petition, “Rivers Need Estuaries”
    Below is the blurb or BS as I would rather put it!
    The Rivers Need Estuaries petition to the Environment Minister Tony Burke states:
    This petition of concerned citizens of Australia draws to the attention of the Minister:
    Despite past dire predictions, the Murray Darling Basin has not been lost to salt or drought. However, upstream water storages are not large enough to keep the Lower Lakes supplied with adequate freshwater during protracted drought. Furthermore, the 7.6 kilometres of concrete barrages that created this artificial freshwater system have destroyed the Coorong-Murray River estuary.
    The petitioners request that the Minister recognise that:
    1. Restoring the Coorong-Murray River estuary must be a priority in any Murray Darling Basin Plan.
    2. The estuary should be restored by re-engineering or removing the barrages in part or whole to allow inflows from the Southern Ocean.
    3. Adelaide’s water supply can be secured by building a lock downstream from Tailem Bend.
    THEREFORE – We petition the Hon. Tony Burke MP to act to restore the natural estuarine environment of the Lower Lakes and Coorong.
    If you wish to become one of JM group of follow the leaders therefore part of her, “obsessed with the barrages at the expense of the bigger picture” go ahead and sign but I think you are an independent thinker looking at the whole package!

  20. Dave Shorter January 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Marc,
    Profiteering is the act of making a profit by using unethical means.Would you care to give some examples of what you mean please ?

  21. Ian Thomson January 17, 2012 at 6:59 am #

    Well, less than a week ago I predicted it. ABC Riverina news this morning-
    Wake boats are being blamed for exacerbating the problem, but due to continuously high river levels, large numbers of trees are falling into the Murray River.
    Ah yes, ‘saving the endangered redgums’ was so important too.

    Can I get a Govt grant to teach them how to swim before the MDBA wish water starts flowing?
    Or have the tree saving warriors already got it and that’s the reason for the aquatic training off WA ?

  22. Ian Thomson January 17, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    O/T ,but by the way Debbie, there were 3 sea eagles soaring around way up high over Deni on Saturday, for a while.
    I went to Hay, Carrathool and back down through Conargo on Sunday and – most unusually, saw not one wedgie out there. They wouldn’t have flown away somewhere else, so I guess they are getting ‘endangered’. Poor things.

  23. Peter R. Smith OAM January 17, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    Hi Ian,
    You didn’t need to smart to realise that or predict, “Wake boats are being blamed for exacerbating the problem, but due to continuously high river levels, large numbers of trees are falling into the Murray River” we in SA have a Committee with good State Government support looking a ‘no wash’ zones in SA but it has nothing to do with flora and fauna but about setting up areas where families can enjoy themselves swimming, fishing etc without being harassed by wake boarders and skiers.
    As we had massive bank collapsing issues below Lock 1 it is something we need to be aware of and monitor.

  24. Debbie January 17, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    Ian,
    They must have decided to move to the MIA, heaps of them here 🙂 No sea eagles however.
    What about those endangered superior parrots that caused the shut down of your timber industry?

  25. Pikey January 17, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Agree Jennifer.
    The rural representative Groups have been missing in action.

    Herewith the new Plan;

    A NEW PLAN FOR THE MURRAY-DARLING BASIN.

    BACKGROUND: The Federal Water Act which resulted in the establishment of the “Murray-Darling Basin Authority” (MDBA) was hastily passed both both sides of parliament in response to a media campaign that claimed that over allocation of water within the Basin was having deleterious affects on “The Environment.”
    While many sensationalists claims were made to support this position, history shows that it was always a false claim.
    We were simply witnessing the consequences of a long drought and in stark contrast to the position in droughts prior to modern man involving himself in water conservation and irrigation, most of the rivers were kept running to the ongoing benefit of man and “The Environment.”
    Before we can make any changes that will be of ongoing benefit for the whole MDB and future generations we need to accept a few facts of Nature:
    1. “The Environment” of the MDB is every square metre of the whole 1 million square kilometres and no one square metre is more important than another.
    2. Water availability varies from year to year and even from month to month and week to week. All these variables also vary from valley to valley within the MDB.
    3. Prior to mans intervention, aquatic habitat went from hydrated to long periods of dry, on an irregular basis to the detriment of aquatic species.
    4. The conditions for both aquatic flora and fauna are enhanced by water conservation.
    5. Hyper-salinity in the Coorong has been a recurring problem but has been exacerbated by drainage works and is little impacted by the flow of the Murray.
    6. The rivers of the Upper Basin that all drain into the Darling have always been highly variable in flow and often run dry.

    The Murray-Darling Plan that should be implemented:
    All existing plans including water buy-backs and water saving plans should be suspended while more practical and nation building proposals are considered and implemented.
    If we begin at the Murray mouth I strongly recommend the immediate commencement of the following measures although not necessarily in this order:

    1. The implementation of the Mott plan to correct hyper salinity in the Coorong using sea water. This is practical and not costly and can be viewed http://ianmott.blogspot.com/
    2. The return of the lower lakes to sea water estuary thereby saving over 700,000 megalitres of fresh water annually.
    3. The reappraisal of the Chowilla dam which as originally planned to be built in S.A. but have a footprint across the three States. The redesign would result in about 3M megalitres of storage and would ensure S.A water for ever.
    4. Increasing the storage capacity of Lakes Buffalo (24,000 megs.) and William Hovell (13,500 megs.) design work to do this was carried out years ago and would increase storage by at least 200,000 megalitres.
    5. A dam needs to be built on the Billabong creek near Holbrook both as a flood mitigation and water control facility as everyone who lives along that waterway knows; with a likely capacity of 50,000 megalitres.
    6. Build the Gateway dam near Corryong which was planned as part of the Snowy Scheme but never built. It was to have a capacity of 1.5M megalitres.
    7. Build a dam east of Wagga on the Murrumbidgee to store some of the flood water that flows from the numerous creeks that all flow from the foothills into the Murrumbidgee below Burrinjuck dam. This dam has not been planed but would have a capacity of at least 700,000 megalitres.
    8. There is also adequate run-off capacity for smaller dams on some of these creeks, especially the Tarcutta creek.
    9. A further down stream dam on the Murrumbidgee above Narrandera to allow more practical management of irrigation flows.
    10. There is also capacity for extra storage on the Lachlan river with new storages on the Belubla river and Mandagery creek with a combined total of 100,000 megalitres. Work has been down on increasing the wall height at Wyangla dam, thereby increasing capacity by 300,000 megalitres.
    11. The Menindee Lakes scheme was implemented to ensure that Broken Hill would always have water and has been totally successful as well as providing water for some very efficient irrigated horticulture. Further engineering work needs to be completed to increase the water depth. This design work has all been completed but was shelved by the previous NSW Labor Government.
    12. Continue the appraisal of water conservation opportunities on the feeder rivers of the Darling particularly in Queensland to give greater certainty to permanent flows in that iconic river.
    If these water storages had been built prior to 2010 they would all now be full, but if they are carried out over the next decade we would increase the area and reliability of our aquatic habitat and largely guarantee water for all end users for generations to come.
    The total increase in capacity would be a least 6M megalitres, which is an increase of over 20% on the total storage capacity of the MDB.

    Pikey.

  26. Allan Taylor January 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    What’s the problem with Hindmarsh island??? When there was very little water during the drought, not enough to float yer boat, everyone complained bitterly. Real estate values plummeted. So whats wrong with sea water and having a stable water level in the estuary, irrespective of inland climatic conditions??? which is what is proposed. USE the unlimited supply of sea water in the adjacent Great Southern Ocean. DONT ignore it, like the Greens. It is well known that Australia is surrounded by SEAWATER and inumerable people find it admirable to float yr boat and catch a multitude of FISH, but NOT noxious CARP and REDFIN that presently live in Lakes Alexandrina and Albert just dont like sea water, sorry about that. It should be mandatory for all Greenies and Environmentalists to live solely on CARP and REDFIN.

  27. Peter R. Smith OAM January 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    Hi Debbie,
    Well of course we all accept the, “Before we can make any changes that will be of ongoing benefit for the whole MDB and future generations we need to accept a few facts of Nature.”
    I agree, “The Murray-Darling Plan that should be implemented” it is the start of the progress we must follow!
    Regarding water buy backs I am really non-plussed, if persons wish to set their water it is their right.
    Now the rest are Pikey’s suggestions so the STUDY’S STILL NOT BEEN DONE!
    1. I agree.
    2. NO.
    3. Yes.
    4. I know little about Lakes Buffalo, William Hovell so can’t comment but the idea sounds good.
    5. Don’t know the area enough to comment.
    6. If plausible yes.
    7. Don’t know the area enough to comment.
    8. Don’t know the area enough to comment.
    9. Don’t know the area enough to comment.
    10. Don’t know the area enough to comment.
    11. Yes as the planning has been done.
    12. Don’t know the area enough to comment.
    Re the comment, “If these water storages had been built prior to 2010 they would all now be full, but if they are carried out over the next decade we would increase the area and reliability of our aquatic habitat and largely guarantee water for all end users for generations to come.
    The total increase in capacity would be a least 6M megalitres, which is an increase of over 20% on the total storage capacity of the MDB”.
    Whilst I accept that comment above it was not done and will not be done without much investigation and study so let’s get to it!
    Hi Allan T,
    If you want seawater around Hindmarsh Island how do you intend to protect the Lower River Murray?
    Re, “USE the unlimited supply of sea water in the adjacent Great Southern Ocean” this IS NOT ABOUT THE GREENS OR WHAT THEY WANT!
    IT IS ALSO NOT ABOUT BOATS!
    Re fish and it’s not about fish the Coorong and Lakes Fishery members DO NOT WANT seawater in the Lakes!
    And just a question even though it’s a noxious species what is wrong with eating Redfin?

  28. John Sayers January 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Peter as Ian Mott points out in his submission the salt water doesn’t take over, most of it is subsurface as it sinks to the bottom being denser – that’s why they classed the lakes as fresh water even though 1/3 was salt. The fish swam between both and the Mulloway were found further upstream than the salt penetrated.

    “IT IS ALSO NOT ABOUT BOATS!” It could be, I bet those on Hindmarsh Island would love to be able to travel further than just Lake Alexandrina without having to go through a lock.

  29. Peter R. Smith OAM January 17, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    Hi John,
    I have spent some time reading what Ian Mott has said and though I respect what he says the Lakes will become brackish and over time saline and Lake Albert which is already at about 4,800EC WILL BECOME hyper-saline first and Lake Alexandrina will continue to become more saline and what is going to stop that salinity from creeping upstream?
    As far as the fish and fishing is concerned I listen to the Coorong and Lakes Fishery spokesman and they reject the seawater option.
    As far as the Hindmarsh Island community is concerned (and I know many of them) I couldn’t give a rats what they want they purchased their properties and knew what the situation was so can’t expect it to be changed for them, buy a house near an airport put up with it or sell out.

  30. John Sayers January 17, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    Peter – when Sturt first arrived he thought the lakes were fresh as he sailed across then suddenly it changed, like there was a line in the sand, that’s what Ian Mott is referring to. That line moves up and down depending on the output from the river – in times of drought it will move all the way up to you but normally it’s only 1/3 or less that is saline and the rest remains fresh. With the current flows it’s likely the whole of the lake will be fresh.

  31. John Sayers January 17, 2012 at 8:07 pm #

    BTW – I have a little more respect for the position of the Hindmarsh Islanders then you do. They bought in times of high flow, then they copped the drought. Have you asked them which situation they’d prefer, or as you say, you don’t give a rats.

  32. Debbie January 17, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    Peter,
    Unless some of the plans that Pikey refers to are put in place, the idea of inter valley water trading is a nonsense if we return to low inflow sequences.
    It’s exactly the same issue that Sean & I have been trying to explain.
    It’s called losses and conveyance.

  33. Peter R. Smith OAM January 17, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    Hi John,
    I know about what happened when Sturt arrived but since then the River Murray has undergone massive change and also massive diversions.
    If seawater were allowed to invade into Lake Alexandrina it would as I tried to explain venture upstream and whilst in times of Captain Sturt freshwater flows would drive the sea back that would not happen as the flows are much less and there is the Barrages.
    At whatever cost the potable water supply for the majority of SA must be protected and again in seawater were to be allowed into Lake Alexandrina we do not believe it could all be got rid of.
    It is not about lack of respect for those who own property on Hindmarsh Island yes they bought in times of high flow as did many irrigators in the Murray Darling Basin but times change and as much as it can hurt we have to just battle through and about, “Have you asked them which situation they’d prefer” no I haven’t and I don’t intend to either as this is not about Hindmarsh Island it’s about the Lakes future but the local council is totally opposed to any solution other than freshwater!
    Hi Debbie,
    Re Piley’s plans that is just what they are planes and until they are tested by investigations/study’s that is what they will remain ‘plans.’
    The Lower River Murray is entitled to freshwater.
    RE, “It’s exactly the same issue that Sean & I have been trying to explain” I have heard you and I have listened but as I have said so many times, “NO ONE IS LISTENING OR HEARING IT IS THE BELIEF OF THE LOCK ZERO GROUP THAT THE LRM AND THE LAKES ALEXANDRINA AND ALBERT CAN BE MANAGED SUCCESSFULLY FROM LOCK ZERO SO AS SEAWATER IS NEVER REQUIRED TO TOP UP LAKE ALEXANDRINA!” Without a proper study that as yet has not been disproved!

  34. Sean January 17, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    Comment from: John Sayers January 17th, 2012 at 5:45 pm
    I bet those on Hindmarsh Island would love to be able to travel further than just Lake Alexandrina without having to go through a lock.

    Comment from: Allan Taylor January 17th, 2012 at 3:53 pm
    What’s the problem with Hindmarsh island??? When there was very little water during the drought, not enough to float yer boat, everyone complained bitterly.

    John & Allan,

    This is in part The submission Proposed Temporary Weir near Pomanda Island put in by The Marina Hindmarsh Island April 7, 2009.
    We are very concerned with the lack of access through the weir for boating and believe this will have a considerable detrimental effect on the recovery of boating in the Goolwa and Murray Lakes region.
    We expect the recovery of water flows down the Murray, in order to save the construction, or to initiate the removal of the weir are many years away. We consider it is expensive to contruct,expensive to maintain and wil in fact reduce the economic and environmental activities of the Lower Murray Lakes region and Goolwa and a fish way should be included.
    We therefore suggest the construction of a permanent structure downstream from Tailem Bend, which could be termed “Lock Zero”. This would be a permanent a permanent solution. It would provide for the future issue which will confront the ongoing management of the lakes.
    We therefore suggest the substancial cost of the Pomanda Island weir be spent on a permanent solution downstream of Tailem Bend.

    Peter,
    Maybe you should get The Marina Hindmarsh Island to help you with your Lock Zero project.

  35. Hasbeen January 17, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    Peter Smith, just where do you, & SA get the right to demand that “At whatever cost the potable water supply for the majority of SA must be protected”. I find this suggestion most arrogant, & typical of those who want others to supply them a living. The least damaging way to proceed is probably to abandon SA as a bad experiment.

    What is so special that this minor little population centre that it should be able to demand others give up their water, so you can go boating, or grow vineyards?

    To my mind it would make more sense for you to sort your own source of water, & user it as you will. Lets face it, once GM closes there really won’t be much excuse to continue to inhabit the place. However, if for some strange reason some want to do so, I suggest they stand on their own feet, make their own arrangements regarding water, & what ever else they may find desirable. I can assure you we will be quite happy to do without you.

  36. Sean January 17, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

    Peter,
    Debbie and I might put with you calling us clowns etc.
    But some will not tolerate it.

  37. Peter R. Smith OAM January 18, 2012 at 6:01 am #

    Hi Hasbeen,
    Re, “just where do you & SA get the right to demand that “At whatever cost the potable water supply for the majority of SA must be protected” potable water is a right and I venture to say that all Australians’ seek the same.
    I regret you find that arrogant but saying, “typical of those who want others to supply them a living” that is so far from the truth, we will make our own living and to LIVE we need potable water.
    Re, “The least damaging way to proceed is probably to abandon SA as a bad experiment” that is I am sure many persons in the Eastern States feel but this Federation is made up of States and each State has the right to be part of this Federation!
    Maybe if you understood what I said you may realise how un-Australian, selfish and conceited you sound we most certainly don’t expect what is not available but don’t South Australians’ deserve the right to irrigate whatever the crop?
    Re, “To my mind it would make more sense for you to sort your own source of water & user it as you will” are you suggesting that we are not entitled to any water from the Murray Darling Basin?
    And re, “To my mind it would make more sense for you to sort your own source of water, & user it as you will. Let’s face it, once GM closes there really won’t be much excuse to continue to inhabit the place. However, if for some strange reason some want to do so, I suggest they stand on their own feet, make their own arrangements regarding water, & whatever else they may find desirable. I can assure you we will be quite happy to do without you”.
    I feel sorry got you, as your un-Australian attitude is typical of so many but as you name “hasbeen” suggests you are passed your use by date, do everybody a favour top yourself!
    Hi Sean,
    As I would normally say if the cap fits wear it! Thank you for that information!

  38. Allan Taylor January 18, 2012 at 7:16 am #

    Some interesting and constructive comments have been posted since my initial stir up. Really, SA management of the Lower Lakes has been pathetic, non-scientific and well over due for “reform” (as PM Julia is fond of saying).
    The idea of building Lock #0 down near Wellington is a good one, and this could be taken as the official end of the River Murray. Upstream of this would be the draw off for Adelaide city water, when needed, and for agriculture around the shores of the lakes. Next, the whole Lower Lakes region needs to be planned by hydro-engineers for redevelopment as a stable seawater estuary. The existing barrages may be of some use to keep IN the sea water at low tide. Goodbye to all the declared noxious fish ie CARP and REDFIN beloved by the Greens. Canal, pipes etc may be required to optimise the system as a self-flushing sea water estuary for recreational use, fishing and aquaculture, all to the benefit of the residents of South Australia, instead of the disgraceful situation we have now, particularly in times of drought. Such a development would be WEATHERPROOF, unlike other Green projects involving renewable energy.

  39. John Sayers January 18, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    I must say I find it fascinating that you push for remaining fresh water Peter. As I mentioned before the lake is a mud pond because of all the carp. A salt water lake would be crystal clear, full of a variety of fish, school prawns, oysters etc.

    I really question your suggestion that the local fishers prefer a fresh water environment when all they can catch are carp, carp, and more carp and occasionally a redfin, provided the redfin virus hasn’t wiped them all out. You say you listen to the Coorong and Lakes Fishery spokesman and he wants a fresh water lake, I really wonder if he speaks for all the fishers and citizens of the area.

  40. Debbie January 18, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    Peter,
    Why do you persist with unproductive personal attacks?
    Of course SA has a right to potable water.
    What you are failing to recognise is that we learnt during the drought that what needs to happen in SA to supply critical supplies is not sustainable.
    You are confusing the arguments and they become bi polar.
    The upstream storages are not capable of keeping those lakes fresh in times of critical shortages. The remainder of the time SA has EXCESS INFLOWS to use.
    The seawater option does NOT threaten SA’s potable supplies.
    The seawater option is about AVOIDING the repeat of the damage and the exposure of acid sulphate soils.
    The only other sensible option is to secure more storage close to SA that is designated for those Lakes.
    Otherwise, the next time we are faced with critical low inflows SA will make demands that are at the expense of others.
    Unfortunately the solution on the table at present is at the permanent expense of others because SA wants to jam up the storages and not have to release space until mid December.
    That means that even though upstream productive users technically own their water entitlements, they cannot access them in the necessary timeframe.
    That is rather un Australian as well don’t you think?
    And Peter,
    to claim that no one cares is not correct.

  41. Peter R. Smith OAM January 18, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Hi John,
    Re the fish i.e. carp and redfin there are a lot more than just those two species in the Lakes and this year there have been good catches of brim and callop.
    Regarding aquaculture I am unsure as the lakes are not overly deep and freshwater would still be pulsed into the Lakes through Lock Zero IF WE COULD GET THE STUDIES DONE TO ADDERTAIN WHETHER IT SHOULD BE CONSTRUCTED!
    A problem with piping water, “to optimise the system as a self-flushing sea water estuary” would be native title!
    Hi John,
    Re, “I must say I find it fascinating that you push for remaining fresh water Peter” my Lock Zero group believe we can have the Lakes remain fresh by pulsing water through Lock Zero to stabalise the EC level. Carp are not the predominant fish in the Lakes Alexandrina and Albert!
    And re, “A salt water lake would be crystal clear, full of a variety of fish, school prawns, oysters etc” I am unsure if that would be possible but would be part of the study.
    My conversations are not only with the Coorong and Lakes Fishery spokesperson but many others also and they are all opposed to seawater.
    And why do you continue to falsely write that the only catches are Carp and occasionally Redfin there are many other fish caught and Redfin bring a good price in the Eastern States market.
    Hi Debbie,
    I apologise for my attack on hasbeen it was not good but I really get angry at attacks on SA.
    Debbie, how many times are you going to accuse us, “What you are failing to recognise is that we learnt during the drought that what needs to happen in SA to supply critical supplies is not sustainable” we learnt plenty and we know things must change but no change can happen without investigation!
    If you read the MDBA plan we are really hot hard and HAVE to use the desal plant for some of our critical human needs water in times of drought the strange part of that is how are we supposed to move it around SA?
    Re, “The seawater option does NOT threaten SA’s potable supplies” it does without Lock Zero for which we
    cannot get support from any politicians or the MDBA.
    No its not, “The seawater option is about AVOIDING the repeat of the damage and the exposure of acid sulphate soils” it is using the acid sulphate soils as a level to allow the seawater option as I have said we believe we can maintain +0.2-AHD pulsed in from Lock Zero.
    Re, “Otherwise, the next time we are faced with critical low inflows SA will make demands that are at the expense of others. Unfortunately the solution on the table at present is at the permanent expense of others because SA wants to jam up the storages and not have to release space until mid December. That means that even though upstream productive users technically own their water entitlements, they cannot access them in the necessary timeframe” don’t SA irrigators own their entitlements?
    And no not un-Australian a fair go for all!

  42. Allan Taylor January 18, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    The problem is at certain times there is a shortage of water in the MDBasin including the Lower Lakes, which geologically is not a river.

    It is well known that sea/ocean water is classified as water and we are fortunate that adjacent to the Lower Lakes is an INFINITE supply of it residing in the Great Southern Ocean. It seems logical to use this resource to the benefit of South Australians by developing a weatherproof seawater estuarine system for the Lower Lakes, with all the benefits of fishing, aquaculture and recreational activity. It would also get rid of all the carp and redfin, declared noxious fish, seemingly beloved by the Greens.

  43. Peter R. Smith OAM January 18, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    Hi Allan,
    We know about the problems of a shortage of water and yes you are right the Lakes are geologically not a River but are under the control of the MDBA.
    Why does, “It seems logical to use this resource to the benefit of South Australians by developing a weatherproof seawater estuarine system for the Lower Lakes” logical to who, logical why when the greater percentage of those who work and reside around the Lakes what to keep them fresh?
    If this was just about fish then the decision would be easier, but it’s not, and as I said in my last post re, “A salt water lake would be crystal clear, full of a variety of fish, school prawns, oysters etc” I am unsure if that would be possible but would be part of the study and also the fisherpersons with licenses make money out of catching carp and Redfin bring a good price as do Bream and Callop.
    What the Greens this is irrelevant as they will never (I hope) be the ruling party.

  44. Debbie January 18, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Yes Peter they do,
    They will also be negatively impacted in exactly the same manner.
    Allan is making sense. Seawater is water and it is in plentiful supply there.
    SA at the mouth is the ONLY place in the entire MDB that has the luxury of using that option. During the drought the rest of us just had to watch the natural wetlands dry up and we had to watch the native species fly away to other places or dig themselves into the underground. They’re all back now and it had absolutely zip to do with the mind boggling wasre of tax payer’s money being wasted on the wrong problem.
    For the life of me I do not understand why you and many others are refusing to recognise you have an advantage.
    You seem intent on continually complaining that no one cares and that you have been severely disadvantaged.
    Your problem is your position in relation to secure storages. The drought has taught us that what SA wants to happen is simply not sustainable in seasons of low to critical inflows.
    SA did get critical supplies and despite all odds the river was kept viable to supply them.
    People like us were completely denied access to our allocations and at one stage we were put in a negative payback situation so that SA’s critical supplies could be conveyed down the river.
    I am not claiming that was wrong, it was probably the best they could do in a very bad situation.
    I am claiming however that your government, The Water Act and therefore the MDBA are blaming people like us for SA’s water woes and are continuing to do so. We did not cause the shortages, they were caused by the drought.
    We paid dearly in order for SA to have its right to potable water. So did your upstream SA irrigators.
    Do not confuse the issue Peter. SA irrigators have just as much right to their entitlements as we do.
    The problem is what needs to happen next time we are in drought.
    The simple fact that we have learnt is the upstream storages are simply not capable of saving those lakes with fresh water under those circumstances. It does not matter how much SA jams them up in good seasons, they still can’t do it. All that accomplishes is a reduction of our productive capacity all the way to SA when there is no demonstrable need to do so because SA has plenty of access to excess inflows in good seasons.
    It isn’t rocket science Peter.
    Continuing to complain that it’s incredibly difficult and no one listens and no one cares and no one understands is turning into a self fulfilling prophecy. That is not correct and it was never correct.

  45. John Sayers January 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    Peter I was quoting the fishers who fish the lake.

    http://www.strikehook.com/forum/23-freshwater-fishing/185043-clayton-bay-redfin

  46. Peter R. Smith OAM January 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    Hi Debbie,
    Allan may be making sense to you but I am sorry not to us!
    So seawater is in plentiful supply does that mean WE HAVE to use it?
    During the drought we also, “had to watch the natural wetlands dry up and we had to watch the native species fly away to other places or dig themselves into the underground. They’re all back now and it had absolutely zip to do with the mind boggling waste of tax payer’s money being wasted on the wrong problem”.
    The reason we don’t as you put it, “I do not understand why you and many others are refusing to recognise you have an advantage” it really is simple we don’t see it as an advantage.
    Re, “You seem intent on continually complaining that no one cares and that you have been severely disadvantaged” it is about no-one is listening, “Re Lock Zero, IF WE COULD GET THE STUDIES DONE TO ASSERTAIN WHETHER IT SHOULD BE CONSTRUCTED.”
    Re, “Your problem is your position in relation to secure storages” I have done some checking up re Chowilla it is shallow and a lot of salinity from East of the border (from groundwater) surfaces there!
    Yes, “SA did get critical supplies and despite all odds the river was kept viable to supply them” and we were thankful of that as we had put in place the plans to supply bottled water if it came down to that.
    Many South Australians were also, “denied access to our allocations” and for longer than many and some still can’t use their allocations because of salinity and cost.
    Re, “We paid dearly in order for SA to have its right to potable water. So did your upstream SA irrigators” yes but potable water is a right as you put it.
    Re, “It isn’t rocket science Peter” no it’s not, but once the Lakes Alexandrina and Albert are saline that’s the way they will stay as it will be impossible to excrete all of the saline water.
    I am not complaining as you put it, “Continuing to complain that it’s incredibly difficult and no one listens and no one cares and no one understands is turning into a self fulfilling prophecy. That is not correct and it was never correct” I continue to say, “Re Lock Zero, IF WE COULD GET THE STUDIES DONE TO ASSERTAIN WHETHER IT SHOULD BE CONSTRUCTED”.

  47. Debbie January 18, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    No Peter,
    You don’t have to use it.
    However, your lock zero plan, while certainly a good plan, will not stop the entire problem from recurring.
    If you are so against seawater then you will have to figure out how to get fresh water from somewhere else that does not include a plan that requires everyone else who accesses the storages to be negatively impacted…even in good seasons.
    You are still missing the point.
    If you do not allow ALL options on the table and South Australians continue to squabble with each other and continue to complain that all their water woes are caused by upstream, you are letting your Government get away with doing nothing and playing stupid unproductive parochial politics.

  48. John Sayers January 18, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    Peter – imagine how much agriculture you could support if you used the water that currently stocks the lakes. Even if you only got half it it would service and employ thousands of people, sustain businesses that support the farmers, expand the regions towns, provide reliable recreation on the lakes thus adding to the tourist industry……. I could go on. I can’t understand why you are so blind to the possibilities.

  49. Susan January 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    Here are the stats for the commercial catch of fish in the Lower Lakes and Coorong Fishery. This report has numbers on the tons caught and the value sorted by fish type for 2009/2010
    http://bit.ly/y5ud3L

    I’ve also read reports from 1941, a year after the barrages were closed; that the water was so bad they caught nothing for a couple of years until the green slime sorted itself, and the fish left or came in depending on the species. http://bit.ly/AvPR3D No doubt commercial fishermen would rather not have to face uncertainty like that.

    Don’t know about redfin near Clayton, but there was a lot of something with fins brushing up against the guys windsurfing when they fell in…

    On Hindmarsh Island. The current Google map, if you zoom in shows the water level pretty close to as low as it got during the drought. Probably at about -.7 m AHD here. It did fall lower than that. Many people by this time had moved their larger boats out of the marina because the marina decks and berths don’t float on the water, they are fixed. Which meant during the drought, the walkways were above your head and it was a very long drop to any boat.

    However, at a tidal range of 0 AHD, and + or – .5m tide, and with modifications to the marina infrastructure, there would be no reason why people could not boat in the channels like they do in any other estuaries around Australia.

  50. Debbie January 18, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    Here is more info re fishing and barrage management:

    http://www.coorongfishery.com/media/documents/lcf-barrage-operating-strategy.pdf

    Plus an interesting take on those river red gums which are now having to learn to swim:

    http://www.quadrant.org.au/magazine/issue/2010/7-8/the-myth-of-the-ancient-red-gum-forests

    And another article on those lower lakes:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/sea-a-natural-for-murray-lakes/story-e6frg6p6-1111118486728?sv=88d252d07f05fdce94e3f1367c897f46#.TxQPDHQ4LvQ.email

    I agree Susan, it would be an excellent idea to study what has been done in and around other tidal/estuarine systems around Australia.

  51. John Sayers January 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Debbie and Susan – the Tweed river is a case in point – it’s a salt water river all the way back to west of Murwillumbah at Bray Park. It also includes the Terranora lakes which are also salt. There is a typical stone wall entrance to the river from the ocean so boats can pass through and go to the ocean during high tides. Above the weir at Bray Park is fresh water which is part of the water supply for Murwillumbah and there is a water purifier station at Bray Park. Check it out on Google earth.

    The Terranora lakes and the river can be fished for salt water fish – the lakes also support oyster farms and prawn trawlers catch school prawns in the river. The new ventures are fish farms on the adjacent to the rivers.

    The Clarence river is the same with salt water from Yamba all the way back to Grafton. Sharks have been spotted at Grafton.

    The Richmond is salt all the way back to Lismore from it’s mouth at Ballina and both rivers have salt water fishing and prawn trawlers for school prawns. All rivers have stone bars to allow trawlers out to the open sea and all river mouths have a Sea Rescue station at the Bar that monitors all boating traffic.

    It happens at all river outlets all the way down the east coast – that’s why we have great seafood on the coast and it supplies Sydney and Brisbane and local towns with copious amounts of seafood.

    To me the lower lakes are no different.

  52. Hasbeen January 18, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    Peter Smith, you get annoyed! Yes I’m sure you do, but no where as annoyed as some of us get at just the sort of thing you are supporting.

    Take the example of one of my friends. He is only many suffering under government lies & mismanagement.

    At 76 he has some experience of his creek, as did his farther before him. They have been using it’s water for their dairy farm for close to 90 years.

    About 45 years ago, after a couple of years, when their creek was a bit less productive than usual, the government promoted the idea of an “irrigation” dam, to ensure there was always plenty of water for the districts farmers in future. The farmers had to commit to not only buying the water, but to an annual infrastructure payment, ranging from $28,000 to $45,000 a year to build & maintain the damn. My mate pays $35,000 plus water charges by the megalitre

    The farmers have never been happy since.

    First the creek, which was never dry before is now quite often that way. They had to put in expensive on farm storage to supply the stock & washing down water that was always previously available from the creek.

    Then they found that year on year they were getting less access to water than they had always enjoyed, when it was a natural creek. They wondered how this could be. Much detective work discovered the dam was being run mainly to supply the increasing urbanisation down stream towards Brisbane. Not only that, but as the dry set in, “irrigation” water was being supplied to a major power house.

    As the dry, no worse than a few previous drys, developed it was announced that water for irrigation would only be available when the dam exceeded 20% capacity. Our cunning premier Beattie ensured this did not happen, by supplying said power house with this “irrigation” water when ever the dam exceeded 10% capacity.

    After 2 years of no water allocation at all, but still billed $70,000 for infrastructure payments my mate, & a few others jacked up & refused to pay.Threats of charges never materialized, as even Beattie could see his image would suffer if this rip off became common knowledge.

    As you can imagine, these farmers no longer care if suburbia goes both dark & dry. They have absolutely no reason to feel any kinship for the folk of Brisbane, let alone SA. One doesn’t have to look too closely at Canberra to see Beattie’s game in play all over again. We know our farmers water will flow to where there are the most votes to be bought.

    When they see SA playing the “environmental flow” card, knowing all such flows, less the ridiculously wasteful evaporation, will become irrigation water in SA, they become some what cynical, & most unlikely to develop any sympathy for what they see quite correctly as rip off merchants.

    SA farmers are bitching at receiving “only” 60% of their allocation, when to supply that, Vic & NSW farmers have had zero allocation for a couple of years, sympathy really does evaporate, just like the water wasted on that so called lake.

    You will have to get rid of that forked tongue, & start talking true facts if you want any consideration given to SA. At present very few can see anything than smarties & con men, when ever we look south west.

  53. Allan Taylor January 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    The MDBasin plan should be put on hold until ALL options are explored & researched considering the largest possible system (including the Great Southern Ocean water resource) and all factors effecting the sensible management of the region. When in doubt don’t make a decision. Don’t let promoters of eco-religious bandwagons try to hustle the outcome.

    Debbie makes a lot of sense in her deliberations. She deserves a medal for common sense which is sadly lacking in this MDBasin controversy. When there is a LACK of water it IS logical to include for consideration ALL water supplies immediately available (irrespective of the inland climate), so (re)developing the original sea water Lower Lakes estuarine system is a sensible option to produce a weatherproof Lower Lakes region for the benefit of all, including Hindmarsh Island residents being able to float their boats willy nilly, plus everybody having decent fishing at their doostep.

    In the distant past, the Murray River was developed with a series of locks, mainly for navigation purposes which was a great success economically. Today, we no longer transport local produce by river steamer but the lock system is still a boon for navigation and the tourist industry with its house boats and paddle steamers which we all enjoy in South Australia and Victoria. The later building of the barrages at the far end of the Lower lakes,with the idea of keeping the sea water out of them, and maintaining a fresh water system, has proven to be unsustainable in times of drought. Why not admit you got it wrong? Everyone makes mistakes, but we must learn from past mistakes, not ignore them and compound our errors.

    The planners/builders of the barrages it seems where dreaming of merry old England and the beautiful English Lake District which enjoys copious rain and all rivers flow out to sea. Sorry to disalusion you but we live in hot, sunny & arid Australia where the climate is normally extreme and rivers don’t always flow out to sea. They may just stop flowing by virtue of evaporation or by just sinking into the ground. This is a NORMAL situation here in South Australia due to our climate. The bizarre idea of the Greens that we must promote a “healthy river” whereby the Murray River must flow out to sea irrespective of climatic conditions is just MAD. More on this later. Basically I am happy that attention to the water problem is widening and I look forward to further contributions to the debate. Regards Allano

  54. Ian Mott January 18, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    Jennifer has never responded to the key fact that a larger tidal prism created by removing the Barrages will exacerbate the rate at which storm surges will close the Murray mouth with large deposits of beach sand.

    The main driver of salinity in Lake Alexandrina is the fact that Lake Albert is a closed end system. Like the Coorong, this means there is limited capacity for fresh water to penetrate to the far end of the system. The term “sloshing” is only recognised as a scientific term in the anerobic confines of South Australian natural resource management. The reality is that most inputs of fresh water into Lake Albert will only result in discharge of more saline water back out into Lake Alexandrina.

    The facts are that nature is not working very efficiently in this region. After 14 million megalitres of flood water the South Lagoon of the Coorong is still twice the salinity of sea water. The salinity of Lake Albert is not as bad but the conventional wisdom is that 14 million meg should have fixed the problem but it clearly has not. See my article at Quadrant on this issue. http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2011/12/has-it-worked

    The latest research from SA has involved extensive modelling of how much fresh water they would need to waste to keep the lakes fresh. But this modelling is based on the assumption that they continue to do absolutely jack $#it that is practical to fix the underlying problems.

    The problem, Peter, of both lake’s salinity can be solved with only a fraction of the fresh water the “flow muddlers” claim is needed by simply ensuring that a small part of river flows can be discharged from the southern end of Lake Albert into the Coorong. Yes, a short canal, with suitable provision to prevent reverse flows of tidal water will stop Lake Albert behaving as a closed end system and end its days as a major evaporative engine of salinity.

    Improve the underlying ecological efficiency of the system and the South Australians can have the fresh water lakes they obviously prefer but at a fraction of the cost in fresh water that they currently waste, let alone of the volume they seriously believe they need.

  55. Peter R. Smith OAM January 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

    Peter R. Smith OAM: –
    Hi John,
    I am only talking about professional fisherpersons.
    Hi Debbie,
    Re, “However, your lock zero plan, while certainly a good plan, will not stop the entire problem from recurring” I agree but we must first investigate and look at all modelling!
    Debbie, all options need to be put on the table and all deserve to be examined properly but once again we want to see the modelling against Lock Zero to see what amount of water we need to maintain +0.2-AHD in Lake Alexandrina.
    I certainly don’t intend, “letting your Government get away with doing nothing and playing stupid unproductive parochial politics”.
    Hi John,
    Imagine if the Lower River Murray and Lakes dairies and other irrigators could once again be back in full production, “it would service and employ thousands of people, sustain businesses that support the farmers, expand the regions towns”
    All we ask for is, “A PROPER SCIENTIFIC AND ACONOMIC STUDY INTO LOCK ZERO TO ASSERTAIN WHETHER OR NOT IT SHOULD BE CONSTRUCTED WITH A CONSTRUCTIVE MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR THE LOWER RIVER MURRAY AND LAKES ALEXANDRINA AND ALBERT”.
    Hi Susan,
    Re, “I’ve also read reports from 1941, a year after the barrages were closed; that the water was so bad they caught nothing for a couple of years until the green slime sorted itself, and the fish left or came in depending on the species” we have moved on since 1941.
    I know what happened at Hindmarsh Island during the drought thank you but thanks for reminding me and this is not, “other estuaries around Australia.”
    Hi Debbie,
    Thanks for those links.
    Hi John,
    This is NOT the Tweed, or Clarence, or Richmond and trying not to be rude have you ever visited and really taken into account what the area used to support, I ask how far upstream from the Lakes do you want the salinity to venture?
    Re, “prawn trawlers for school prawns” please be serious how deep do you think these Lakes are?
    What a joke the mouth of the River or Lake Alexandrina is ALWAYS shallow and extremely dangerous.
    I am sorry but re, “To me the lower lakes are no different” maybe to you but please visit and have a GOOD look!
    As a matter of fact when people have suggested a safe boat haven at Goolwa for large vessels it at least always elicits a good laugh.
    Hi hasbeen,
    It is sad what happened to your friends in QUEENSLAND but it does answer something that was bothering me you don’t know or understand the Lower River Murray or our Lakes and also we were down to zero allocation during the drought and even now persons cannot access water (accept expensively through pipes) as it is far to saline.
    I also did not know that water from the Brisbane region made its way into the Murray Darling Basin.
    Re, “SA farmers are bitching at receiving “only” 60% of their allocation, when to supply that, Vic & NSW farmers have had zero allocation for a couple of years” when was that?
    What, “so called lake” I just looked in the map book our – so called – lakes downstream of Wellington are marked as Lake Alexandrina and Albert.
    You are welcome to visit I am sure I can arrange an informative visit with persons who are third, fourth and fifth generation primary producers, fishermen etc.
    Hi Allan,
    Re, “The MDBasin plan should be put on hold until ALL options are explored & researched considering the largest possible system (including the Great Southern Ocean water resource) and all factors effecting the sensible management of the region. When in doubt don’t make a decision. Don’t let promoters of eco-religious bandwagons try to hustle the outcome’ THANK YOU ALLAN, the voice of reason.
    Re, “In the distant past, the Murray River was developed with a series of locks, mainly for navigation purposes which was a great success economically” but do we need to maintain that pool level now, especially in drought?
    Hi Ian,
    Thank you for joining the debate I am sure you will be welcomed.
    What those of us in the region believe should happen with Lake Albert is: –
    1) Completely remove the Narrung bund,
    2) Completely remove the causeway constructed in the 1930’s,
    3) Dredge the narrows to a depth where water can (as it did prior to the causeway) flow in and out.
    We are of the belief that if that was done the 4800EC level could be lowered and irrigation could resume.
    Re, “Yes, a short canal, with suitable provision to prevent reverse flows of tidal water will stop Lake Albert behaving as a closed end system and end its days as a major evaporative engine of salinity” but believe the above should be done prior to a channel and if a channel were to be constructed the management would need to ensure no water flowed from the Coorong into Lake Albert as the Southern Lagoon is at over 150,000EC..
    As the spokesperson for Lock Zero information for which can be found on my web site http://www.psmithersmyriver.com I would be happy to discuss this proposal with you, my contacts are on my web site which is a little basic but I don’t know how to make the necessary alterations.

  56. Mark A January 18, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    Ian M
    “Yes, a short canal”

    Ian I pointed the dead end nature of LA, out to Peter and the solution as I saw it and he shot it down in flames as “Impossible”

    Glad others see problems as challenges to be solved too.

  57. Peter R. Smith OAM January 18, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    Hi Mark A,
    I have attended many meetings in various places around or near Meningie where a channel has been discussed and no conclusion has been arrived at, but we are open to all ideas at this stage the channel is in the no basket.
    Not a channel but a pipe but gaining a head for flow would be difficult!
    We would be happy for the option to be examined and I hope Ian can assist.
    As I said water cannot flow from the Coorong into Lake Albert.

  58. Allan Taylor January 18, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    Well, I see a few sensible ideas arising that should be followed up. Obviously nothing should be done (NO MDBasin plan) until all options are fully investigated. Personally, I support the idea of building Lock Zero ca Wellington, which signifies the end of the Murray River. After that you are entering the sea water estuarine system which has great potential for development for the benefit of ALL South Australians.

    I suggest the present personal involved/interested in the water problem take a trip to southern Chile where in the fiordland region you have a prosperous development of aquaculture (salmon, trout, shellfish), concurrent with a very efficient ferry system (transbordadores) which frequent all the offshore islands transporting goods and personnel. Coming back to South Australia I am ashamed at what exists presently with regard to aquaculture and ferry transportation. Wake up South Australia, you can do better! Allano

  59. John Sayers January 18, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    Peter – how deep do you reckon the Clarence or the Tweed rivers are? or the Terranora lakes?
    Do you know what school prawns are? have you ever been to the far north coast?

    D. Cremer of Milang writes

    Sir—Re your article on the 25th about the benefits derived from the Murray barrages, two professional fishermen spoke against them from the fisheries standpoint to your representative. Adverse fishing conditions, which did not previously exist, have been caused by the barrages. Twelve months ago the Murray mouth was about 350 yards wide and 16 feet deep. Now it is about 20 yards wide, and there is only 3 feet of water. Fish will not cross this shallow water. They will cross only at high tides.

    The barrages must contain and hold back 60 years of river silt that has washed down the Darling and Murray Rivers, bet it’s full of toxic chemicals.

  60. Peter R. Smith OAM January 18, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    Hi Allan,
    This is not criticism but I think Southern Chile is a little different than the Lower River Murray especially in climate.
    Along the coast in the region there are no islands and the Murray Mouth has always been a treacherous water way with the Mouth only kept open by dredges and even if seawater were allowed through the Barrages I doubt the mouth would remain open without dredging.
    As for ferries Lake Alexandrina is relatively shallow and that is why Paddle Steamers were used most with a draft of approximately 3 feet.
    And yes we can do better!
    Hi John,
    Re, “how deep do you reckon the Clarence or the Tweed rivers are or the Terranora lakes” no I don’t know how deep they and I know little about school prawns and I haven’t travelled up the far North Coast further than Rockhampton since 1965.
    Re your piece by D. Cremer when was it written as it sounds to me it was some years ago as I certainly can’t remember when the River Mouth was, “about 350 yards wide and 16 feet deep” but I have visited the region when, “it is about 20 yards wide, and there is only 3 feet of water” and dredges were used as flows out of the mouth have been unable to keep the mouth open.
    Re, “The barrages must contain and hold back 60 years of river silt that has washed down the Darling and Murray Rivers, bet it’s full of toxic chemicals” that is correct and why we have acid sulphate soils problem during the drought and believe that the management should be such that the level doesn’t drop below +0.2-AHD.
    The toxic chemicals have been deposited over the last 60plus years and now could not be washed out but must remain covered.
    We also have acid sulphate problems in irrigation channels.

  61. John Sayers January 18, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    “We also have acid sulphate problems in irrigation channels.”

    so have we.

    We’ve solved all those problems on the eastern coast.

    Surely the resolution is to remove the barrages and let the lakes wash the pollution and silt buildup to the ocean.

    The world’s largest known population of western king prawns is in Spencer Gulf. South Australia. Lake Alexandria should be the nursery.

  62. John Sayers January 18, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    as it probably was.

  63. Peter R. Smith OAM January 18, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    Hi John,
    Congratulations on solving your acid sulphate problems but removing the Barrages will not totally solve the problem but in some cases make things worse.
    If our irrigations channels fill with seawater we will have a major salinity problem.
    There is no evidence to suggest that Lake Alexandrina was ever a prawn nursery aren’t you forgetting that prior to the Barrages, except in times of drought freshwater flowed out of the mouth most of the time, the mouth has only been closed twice in recordable history.

  64. John Sayers January 18, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    “removing the Barrages will not totally solve the problem but in some cases make things worse.”

    do you have any evidence for this?

    the system existed for millions of years without the barrages, do you have any evidence that the barrages improved the natural system?

    Why would the irrigation channels fill with sea water if they are taken above the weir at Wellington?

    Peter – what do we know about what happened before the barrages? Susan’s and Debbie’s links gave us an idea.

  65. Debbie January 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    Allan,
    Well said!
    Common sense is indeed sadly lacking in the MDB controversy.
    Hopefully this petition as well as other initiatives will encourage more people with common sense to speak up!
    The simple fact is that the drought has taught all of us that our current water storages and water conservation systems are not capable of supplying all our development aspirations.
    Pretending otherwise is not solving the real problem.
    We have also made some mistakes and we need to be given the opportunity to fix them. The supply and management of the lower lakes and the Coorong is one of those. It is not the only one but it is certainly the noisiest one 🙂

  66. Sean January 19, 2012 at 12:50 am #

    Peter,
    I found this report in my archives and replaced the Fresh Water with Sea Water.

    LOWER LAKES QUICK FIGURES – as at 31 July 2008

    The Lower Lakes are currently below sea level :-
    Lake Albert -0.3m AHD Lake Alexandrina -0.4m AHD
    The estimated annual net evaporation and seepage from the Lakes ( in dry years) :- 750 to 950 GL
    . Net evaporation is total evaporation minus local rainfall.
    Water required to fill and maintain both Lakes to 0 m AHD until July 2009 :-
    1050 to 1250 GL
    a. A 300 GL volume of water, if delivered today, would fill the Lower Lakes from their July 2008 levels to 0M AHD.
    b. However, if no additional water is delivered with this 300 GL, the Lakes would return to the current levels during the summer ( assuming dry conditions ).
    c. The total amount required to fill and maintain the Lakes from their July 2008 levels to 0 M AHD, for one year, is 1050-1250 GL ( 300 GL plus one year of evaporation 750-950 GL ).
    If Lock Zero was in place and the Goolwa Barrage had automated gates 300 GL of Sea Water could have brought the Lakes up 0 M AHD and with a further 750 to 950 GL of Sea Water during the year should have maintained the Lakes at 0 M AHD. This could have been repeated again in July 2009 and July 2010. The floods came back and the river flow increased to 207.4 GL on the 21st. October, 2010 for a total between that date and the end of December, 2010 was 3593 GL and for the full year January to December 2011 was 14,280 GL.
    The same notes mentions Losses incurred to deliver water from storages in the northern Murray-Darling Basin 2000 km to the Lower Lakes (in dry conditions): About 70-80% ( depends on the amount, temperature, time of the year and previous flow conditions.

    Bottom the report reads :-
    . These figures are indicative, but agreed by all jurisdictions.
    . AHD (Australian Height Datum) is the Australian standard altitude measurement.

  67. Peter R. Smith OAM January 19, 2012 at 5:20 am #

    Hi John,
    By removing the Barrages for starters will allow the sea to, as it did before they were constructed to, permeate upstream many kilometres and also in times of low flow down the river I believe the mouth will close up again!
    Yes, “the system existed for millions of years without the barrages, do you have any evidence that the barrages improved the natural system” how could the Barrages of, “improved the natural system” by the time they were constructed the ‘system’ was far from natural?
    We don’t have a weir at Wellington and we don’t or can’t even get a commitment to do any investigation and if the pressure being applied from upstream of Lock 1was successful the first thing done would be the removal of the Barrages.
    All any of us know about prior to the Barrages is what we can glean from written and scientific evidence!

    Hi Debbie,
    Yes Allan is speaking much commonsense but like so many others unless you have visited and understand the Lower River Murray and our Lakes whilst it is commonsense it must be horses for courses.
    Re the petition with over 260 signatures and most of it uninformed comment and only 3 signatures from the Region concerned.

    Hi Sean,
    They are very interesting figures but Lock Zero was not in place and at this stage there is still no leaning towards even discussing it!
    You talk about allowing 300-Gl’s then another 750to 950-Gl’s altogether about 1150-Gl’s and then doing it again bringing the total to about 2300-Gl’s and as I have stated previously we would be unable to flush all of that seawater out again so then we would be in a transition stage of I suppose brackish whilst this would have covered the acid sulphate soils what other good would it have done?
    We all understand the losses of water during conveyance but what other way is there to convey freshwater from one end of the River Murray to the other?

  68. Peter R. Smith OAM January 19, 2012 at 6:19 am #

    Hi Debbie,
    I know you don’t like the Wentworth Group but I have just read their, “Statement on the 2011 Draft Murray-Darling Basin Plan” but I know you would probably agree with their first comment, “The Draft Murray-Darling Basin Plan should be withdrawn because it does not provide the information required to make an informed decision on the future of the river system.”
    If anyone would like a copy look at my web site http://www.psmithersmyriver.com for my contacts and email me.

    Hi Sean,
    I have sent you a copy.

  69. Ian Mott January 19, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    The way this debate has polarised between two alternatives, remove the barrages or retain them, reflects poorly on all concerned, and the AEF in particular. There has always been a more sensible and practical option, to modify the barrages to allow for active management of two way flows to deliver timely and proportionate responses to changing circumstances.

    The facts are that in one year in ten the lakes would benefit from a PARTIAL, MEASURED AND PROPERLY DIRECTED intrusion of sea water to maintain water levels and prevent acid sulphate discharge. The detriment that is likely to result from a complete, unmeasured and uncontrolled intrusion of sea water are entirely foreseeable and decision makers have an overwhelming legal duty of care to take reasonable and practical steps to prevent that detriment. Partial, measured and directed introduction of sea water equals “reasonable and practical” steps while complete, unmeasured and uncontrolled introduction equals “gross (criminal) negligence”.

    The AEF petition is actively promoting a negligent act.

    The refusal to contemplate any change in the way the barrages are used will also result in entirely foreseeable detriment in one year in ten. And the failure to to take the reasonable and practical step of partial sea water introduction also constitutes gross negligence.

    In the other nine years the flow is sufficient to offset evaporation, and, if managed properly, maintain low salinity levels. Note, Peter, I made it very clear that return flows from the Coorong into Lake Albert must be avoided. And by the way, your EC readings are a bit dated, the worst South Lagoon reading in December was 110,00EC at Cattlemans Crossing, not 150,000.

    There are other relevant aspects of this issue but they will have to wait until they are published in a proper forum. The days when I allow detailed work to be burried in threads on this blog without record are long gone.

  70. Sean January 19, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    Peter,
    I have a copy thank you.
    Is Professor Tim Flannery still a member of the Wentworth Group and aren’t they group that spat the dummy when the MDBA had a change management.
    After reading earlier reports from the Group for the MDBA I wrote to Adelaide Now website why I believed the report wasn’t being released.

    Witholding the MDBA Report
    August 2010

    After reading the two Wentworth Group reports, “The Urgent Provision of Water to the Coorong and Lower Lakes” ( Sept. 2008 ) and “Sustainable Diversion in the Murray Darling Basin” ( June, 2010 ), and seeing the current situation as of the 14th July, 2010, where the total Basin’s holding is 7550GL ( 33.3% ), you can see why the Murray Darling Basin Report hasn’t been released.

    Alan Holmes said on 891 ABC radio this morning ( 10/08/10 ) that the river requires a flow of 10,000GL, 2450GL more than what is in current storage , therefore I believe they are looking at 60% for environmental flows and 40% for the irrigators etc as a starting point.

    and then doing it again bringing the total to about 2300-Gl’s
    No Peter as 750 to 950 GL has gone in evaporation and that has to be replaced, the original 300 GL is still there. The Dept. of E&H at a Goolwa meeting in 2009 informed me that it is salt water not sea water when talking about the 1915 drought. We have since 21st. October,2010 had 17,873 GL flow into S.A., you would think that would have brought Lake Alexandrina and Goolwa back to fresh water. This is 7,873 GL above the figure of 10,000 GL Alan Holmes talks about above.

    Lock Zero was not in place and at this stage there is still no leaning towards even discussing it!

    Well I have a computer modelling on Lock Zero it is approximately 220 to 250 metres wide has a fish way and a lock just downstream from Tailem Bend. Quite a bit smaller than temporary Pomanda Island ( 2 KM ) and the Clayton Regulator 400 metres and they have no fish way or lock.

  71. Peter R. Smith OAM January 19, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    Hi Ian,
    In previous posts many, including myself, have stated that the Barrages should be upgraded and computerised so they can be opened remotely and immediately at any time.
    The Lock Zero group believes the need for seawater to be allowed to enter through the upgraded Barrages would be unnecessary with proper management and by pulsing water through Lock Zero into Lake Alexandrina it is our belief that acid sulphate soils could be covered.
    Re, “The detriment that is likely to result from a complete, unmeasured and uncontrolled intrusion of sea water are entirely foreseeable and decision makers have an overwhelming legal duty of care to take reasonable and practical steps to prevent that detriment” that is my group’s belief though we never went as far as to say, “gross (criminal) negligence.”
    Your view of the partition is shared by all of the people I speak to and my group.
    We are well aware that the way the Barrages are used/managed has passed its use by date and the motion I had put to the Murray Darling association National conference was, “that the integrity of the Barrages be maintained but that they be upgraded and modernised”.
    Your point about one year in ten is noted but as I say we believe that can be avoided but if absolute minimal amounts of seawater were let in then that could hopefully be managed.
    Ian, I realise you, “made it very clear that return flows from the Coorong into Lake Albert must be avoided” and whilst we agree our management record is not that good so we have some concerns and we also believe it would need to be a pipe.
    I regret my error re the EC level in the Southern Lagoon and when I was on the Advisory Group looking at the problems in the Southern Lagoon (prior to the wonderful life giving rains in the Eastern States) it was decided to pump out the Southern Lagoon but the inflows into the Basin put a stop to that.
    Re, “There are other relevant aspects of this issue but they will have to wait until they are published in a proper forum. The days when I allow detailed work to be burried in threads on this blog without record are long gone” I agree but thank you for your input though I would like your comments re our Lock Zero proposal on my web site..
    Interesting paper from the Wentworth Group this morning, I am sure would by now have a copy by now but if not let me know.

  72. Sean January 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    Peter,
    Here is another option for Lock Zero in combination with Bridge.

    I ran into a fellow river friend at lunch at Middleton the other Sunday and asked him what he thought about whether it was possible to build a combined Bridge / Lock or would he know somebody who does ? He thought it was worth putting the suggestion to the powers to be.

    I was thinking of building it between Wellington and Jervois and eliminating the two ferries at Tailem Bend and Wellington.

  73. Debbie January 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    Peter,
    The Wentworth Group are just as annoyed with that plan as everybody else. All that Water Act and the resultant MDBP has managed to do is waste mind boggling amounts of tax payer funds attempting to solve the wrong problem.
    In the process they have also managed to annoy all stakeholders and almost all communities who rely on the MDB for their livelihoods.
    We do not believe the WG are recognising the real issue as they are still falsely claiming that the river systems are in poor ecological health and that the sole cause is irrigation. They are also re igniting parochial politics by their comments about State borders.
    However I do personally agree that we have a common enemy.
    Also Peter,
    I know you think your argument about the unique aspects of the LRM is solid. The point however is that maybe much could be learned if the SA govt and community organisations asked other tidal/estuarine areas what they have discovered works in similar circumstances.
    You are also still ignoring the basic problem. If you truly understood the WSPs you would have to know that in average to above average seasons there is no problem getting water to the LRM for you to pulse or do whatever you want to do with it.
    It is the times of low to critical inflows that you will have the issue because other people upstream have to be denied access because of the conveyance problems.
    If there are no excess inflows, there will be no spare water for you to pulse. Just like the rest of us, the only water available is for critical supplies.
    Your current plan assumes your conveyance water should also be stored in the upstream storages which effectively means that it would be NEARLY DOUBLE your actual entitlement.
    As well as understanding the LRM you also need to understand the logistics of supply when inflows are below average.

  74. Peter R. Smith OAM January 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    Hi Sean,
    That was part of Peter Lewis’s idea but the problem was the opening and closing of the sections of the Lock though in the new proposal we are working on that will be mentioned. Thanks Sean.

    Hi Debbie,
    I realise you have it in for the Wentworth Group because you don’t ever agree with any of their information and you believe that they pulled out of any discussions, well that is not true so when you speak to those who you know from the group get the truth!
    I still find it is better to not burn bridges behind me!
    Instead of knocking what they have said please read it so their point of view you can consider!
    One interesting point from their paper, “It beggars belief that a statutory Authority could justify spending over $9 billion of taxpayers’ money to recover 2,750 GL from the rivers (which CSIRO says won’t fix the problem), and then increase the groundwater take by 2,600 GL when we know that many of the groundwater systems are linked to river systems” if that is true it more than beggars belief!
    Before your comment, “We do not believe the WG are recognising the real issue as they are still falsely claiming that the river systems are in poor ecological health and that the sole cause is irrigation. They are also re igniting parochial politics by their comments about State borders” read their paper.
    I know you will never believe that the Murray Mouth area where it opens into the Southern Ocean and I am happy to discuss it with, “other tidal/estuarine areas what they have discovered works in similar circumstances” but circumstances are not similar to this region where the predominant weather blows up from the Antarctic.
    By pulsing water into Lake Alexandrina we could hold back water and use it when it was most necessary which also means higher weir pools in the River Murray above Lock 1.
    I know about conveyance and the problems but as I have asked many times how else can water be moved from the Snowy Mountains to the LRM?
    This statement is CRAP, “Your current plan assumes your conveyance water should also be stored in the upstream storages which effectively means that it would be NEARLY DOUBLE your actual entitlement” when did our conveyance water amount become over 1850-Gl’s?
    It is great to have Ian Mott’s input, I see you don’t agree because you have ignored everything he has said and that was telling I should read his information.

  75. Allan Taylor January 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    Hi Peter
    I support your promotion of building a Lock Zero which amongst other things stablizes the fresh water of the Lr Murray and would keep any sea water from entering the various draw offs, including Adelaide city when needed. However, I can’t quite visualize pulsing fresh water into Lake Alexandrina to keep it fresh water???
    The whole point of building Lock Zero is to make it the end of the Murray and it would be POOR water management for the MDBasin if any fresh water was deliberately wasted by allowing river water to flow into Lake Alexandrina. The whole Lower Lake region needs redevelopment by hydroengineers into a self-flushing sea water estuarine system with stable water level which is WEATHERPROOF.. this means during drought years, because the water source is the Great Southern Ocean (NOT River Murray water which is needed for a host of uses). If we keep talking we may find a solution.

  76. Peter R. Smith OAM January 19, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    Hi Allan,
    Thank you for your support of our plan which is far from finished. Re pulsing water into Lake Alexandrina the point I made to Debbie in my last post, “By pulsing water into Lake Alexandrina we could hold back water and use it when it was most necessary which also means higher weir pools in the River Murray above Lock 1” leaving as much as possible in the River until such time it is required.
    All of the water that flows into SA will in nine out of ten be used so will still flow over Lock 1 and then reach Lock Zero where it can only be held for a certain period of time without causing flooding in the Lower River Murray Region and it’s not about wasting water it’s about management.
    As Ian Mott says in his last post we need the Barrages upgraded and better managed he is not advocating seawater all the time maybe one year in ten as we believe we can maintain Lakes Alexandrina and Albert fresh enough for water for stock, irrigation ie, riparian rights.
    Whilst you point out, “The whole Lower Lake region needs redevelopment” it must be remembered that if the Barrages were removed the level in our Lakes would immediately drop by 0.75Metres or about 30-inches and it is doubtful if because of the nature of the sea movement in the area that then mouth would remain open and once closed we are back to dredging again and without the protection of the Barrages during King or High Tides with some of the huge seas and winds those dredges would be in a perilous situation. I would point out that at times boating on Lake Alexandrina is virtually impossible and even our biggest paddle steamers are forced to remain at the wharves.
    There is a great deal to be considered but removing the Barrages is not an option but work MUST be done on returning the conductivity between Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina, the upgrading of the Barrages and investigations into Lock Zero.
    I totally agree, “If we keep talking we may find a solution” if only we could get the Federal and State Governments to the table.

  77. Debbie January 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    Peter,
    I actually agreed that the WG and most of the other stakeholder groups have a common enemy.
    I also read the whole paper and they most certainly make odd comments about state borders and they most certainly do claim that water woes and poor ecological river health is caused by irrigation.
    They have conceded that the socio economic work is very poor and that there is not an EWP. That is almost a no brainer!
    However, they claim that the rivers need way more water and that it must be taken from irrigation.
    So I agree with them that this plan should be scrapped and we need to go back to the NWI and start again. I do not agree that our problems will be solved by simply throwing more water at the river systems. That would be because our problem is not primarily an environmental problem.
    Re conveyance….you really don’t understand.
    In average and above average seasons, NSW, SA & Vic use EXCESS INFLOWS that are available over and above any of the allocations and, in particular, SA benefits from that as SA ends up with all the excess inflows…because as we all know you are at the bottom of the system. There is no shortage for your lakes under those conditions.
    When we go below average or even more critical, there are little to no EXCESS INFLOWS.
    In the depth of the drought it took roughly double SA’s allocation to actually get it to SA because there were no excess inflows to use.
    What NSW and Vic were forced to do was retrospectively take allocation away from irrigators (including your own upsteam SA irigators) so that there was enough conveyance water to get SA’s critical water to SA.
    It had absolutely nothing to do with ‘over extraction’ or nothing to do with the Eastern states not caring about the LRM or the lakes.
    Everyone did the best they could. Despite all the howling from SA, the simple truth is that the river was kept viable enough to supply critical supplies….there was no water available for those lakes.
    Under the drought conditions we experienced, you also need to realise that if it wasn’t for the upstream management and storages ….that river would have run dry.
    It doesn’t matter whether you build lock 0 or not…although it could if you understood the other unique advantage that SA has….the logistics of getting water there for you to pulse from Lock 0 do not change…it will be at the expense of upstream….and you won’t get 1850 GL unless it is conveyed to you with almost the same amount….that’s actually why you didn’t get your full entitlement in the depth of the drought….there wasn’t enough conveyance available to get it there….so some of it had to come off your entitlement.
    Re Ian Mott….I think his submission is one of the best I have seen….from the first day I saw it.
    He clearly understands the logistics nightmare of water management as well as an excellent understanding of the several ways that the ocean could be used to everyone’s advantage and therefore reduce the wastage that happens….especially when water availablity gets tight.

  78. Sean January 19, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    Peter,

    As Ian Mott says in his last post we need the Barrages upgraded and better managed he is not advocating seawater all the time maybe one year in ten as we believe we can maintain Lakes Alexandrina and Albert fresh enough for water for stock, irrigation ie, riparian rights.

    I have been saying from day one Lock Zero should be built and the barrages must be automated and better managed. When have I said sea water all the time. I have always said when in DROUGHT I repeat when in DROUGHT. I tried to get included in the petition with Jennifer or when the Lower Lakes 0.0 M AHD but was advised by someone to change it to 0.15 M AHD as sea level is too late. We don’t have to maintain Lake Alexandrina anymore because they have their irrigation and potable pipelines. Lake Albert will continue to struggle as they have only potable water and using your words “They turned down their offer, it was their choice”, so they now become dry farmers and the dairy farmers have sold their water. My plan has always been when the river flows again like it has since 21st. October,2010 we adjust the gates on the barrage and gradually bring the Lakes and the Goolwa Channel back to fresh water which we have been able to do as river flows for the balance of 2010 was 3,593.2 GL with a further 14,280 GL for the full year of 2011. With automated gates they would have been able to close the gates with a press of the button. A period from May, 22, 2011 to early June the majority of the barrage gates were open and as a consequence the volume of saline water intruding was such that it extended past Point Sturt into Lake Alexandrina even though River flows were still high. After this event the number of open gates was reduced to restrict the ingress of sea water during subsequent events.
    One of the intrusions was on a weekend, so nobody was there to close the antiquated gates, which resulted in salt levels being in the high 30,000 EC.
    Peter,
    The above shows how I believe the system should work from DROUGHTS, Large and Low river flows and Sea water intrusion in stormy weather.

    I would still like too see if Lake Albert could be changed from a BLIND LAKE into A TRANSIT LAKE.

  79. Peter R. Smith OAM January 20, 2012 at 7:22 am #

    Hi Debbie,
    I understand conveyance but I don’t see it from your angle and we believe there must be changes but the only method to get water to SA is by the River.
    Once again I am not seeking storage space for other than what we are entitled to!
    I am sorry but SA critical water has to be delivered just you receive your critical water!
    Re, “It had absolutely nothing to do with ‘over extraction’ or nothing to do with the Eastern states not caring about the LRM or the lakes” when did I say it did?
    And so it should, unless another method is found, “Everyone did the best they could. Despite all the howling from SA, the simple truth is that the river was kept viable enough to supply critical supplies”.
    Also the reason the River did not run dry was partly because of storages but mostly because of the regulators!
    I know you like to continue to talk of our, “unique advantage” but what you see as an advantage we see as a MASSIVE disadvantage!
    I believe Ian Mott is correct when he says about seawater one in ten years bur we believe even that may not be necessary.

    Hi Sean,
    Re Lake Albert if the remediation that has been proposed ie, restore the narrows how they were before white man interfered, the flows could return with, as it used to, water flowed into the Lake from the North-East of the narrows and flowed out from the South-West of the narrows.
    Whilst it may be good idea to connect Lake Albert to the Coorong we believe in the above remediation first.

  80. Debbie January 20, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    Oh Peter,
    Your posts are continually peppered with negative comments about upstream, the Eastern States, un Australian attitudes, other’s lack of understanding, no one cares about SA, no one listens, everybody always picks on SA, SA suffered the worst in the drought, SA didn’t get their full entitlement, SA are the most efficient irrigators and everyone else wastes water and and and on and on!
    The conveyance issue just is. There is no angle. The water to convey SA’s entitlement has to come from somewhere.
    When there are no EXCESS INFLOWS why should we be sending productive water as conveyance to evaporate in the lower lakes?
    Especially when the LRM would have stopped flowing if it was left up to nature?
    Ian Mott’s plan is much more sensible. We need to use the extra option as soon as we get into low inflow sequences not after we have trashed productive water as conveyance.

  81. Sean January 20, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    Debbie,

    SPOT ON

    Oh Peter,
    Your posts are continually peppered with negative comments about upstream, the Eastern States, un Australian attitudes, other’s lack of understanding, no one cares about SA, no one listens, everybody always picks on SA, SA suffered the worst in the drought, SA didn’t get their full entitlement, SA are the most efficient irrigators and everyone else wastes water and and and on and on!
    The conveyance issue just is. There is no angle. The water to convey SA’s entitlement has to come from somewhere.
    When there are no EXCESS INFLOWS why should we be sending productive water as conveyance to evaporate in the lower lakes?

    Peter,
    Please refer to the e mail I sent you on Myponga etc. again.

  82. Debbie January 20, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    Thanks Sean,
    It isn’t actually rocket science or as complicated as Peter is trying to make out. Neither is the problem caused by upstream or the Eastern States. The problem is also NOT environmental per se. The environment that needs serious attention is the human dependent water assets NOT the natural ephemeral environment, including the black box areas that the WG is now trying to highlight.
    The issue we need to face is what we do in LOW INFLOW SEQUENCES or DROUGHT SEQUENCES. We need to consider a management regime that is flexible and recognises the reality of our land of drought and flooding rains. Ian Mott’s submission is excellent because that is exactly what it does. Same for your solution.
    The remainder of the time there is not an issue about water supply, the issue then is that if you want to keep those barrages they are in serious need of upgrade. They have still exacerbated a salt problem for you even though those lower lakes have had a continuous, ginormous flush…as your figures and links clearly highlight.
    Just throwing more fresh water at it or, worse, jamming up the dams with ever increasing amounts of ‘just in case’ water will not solve the problem. All it does is deny other productive users access to the resource when they need it to produce!!! IT WILL NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEMS THAT HAVE DEVELOPED IN SA!!!!
    The nonsense that the WG group is pedalling along with the ACF and numerous others as well as the SA Government and unfortunately too many of our politicians and that woeful water act is just confusing, bi polar, obstructive, parochial, political fluff.
    They are attempting to solve the wrong problem and they are blaming the wrong culprit and they want to use the wrong resources to do it.
    It is a lose/lose solution.
    We need to think win/win.
    That is whatt Ian Mott’s submission does as well as your work. It is also what the petition is asking for.
    Peter, although I don’t believe he realises it, is promoting a win/lose solution because he doesn’t truly understand the logistics of supplying water to the LRM in times of LOW INFLOW or DROUGHTS. He doesn’t truly understand the cost required to keep fresh water in those lakes and only let in seawater as a LAST RESORT!
    If that’s what happens LAST when we are clearly in times of low inflow…what has happened to everyone else?

  83. Ian Mott January 20, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    It would seem that the best time to introduce sea water into Lake Alexandrina would be from the moment the river flow volume falls below the evaporation volume. And only in such volumes as are needed to maintain equilibrium. This would mean that the proportion of evaporation sourced from fresh water will gradually decline as a drought continues, thereby making better use of the fresh flows at the time when they are needed most.

    It would enable releases to be reduced in the lead-in to a predicted drought so the same allocated volume can last longer through that drought and continue to keep the introduced sea water close to the barrages where it can do less harm. In this way the periods of zero flow can be shorter and the extent of substantial sea water intrusion is restricted.

  84. Ian Mott January 20, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    The option of adding additional barrages inside the existing ones should also be investigated. Pt Sturt to Pt Mcleay (5.5km) would enable complete sea water intrusion of the portion of the lake most subjected to past tidal inflows. It would prevent further uncontrolled intrusions and produce immediate reductions in fresh water evaporation at the onset of drought of (very) roughly 20%. So over a two and a half year drought this could save up to half a million ML (worth $100 million) that would then be available for maintaining fresh flows for longer. A “T” section giving the capacity to split and switch outflows and inflows from the Goolwa to the Tauwitcherie, from this new inside barrage would also be very useful.

    And unlike the MDBAs wanton destruction of value by extinguishing productive capacity, this would create value through better use of an existing loss from the system and produce a serious economic boost to the local economy.

  85. Peter R. Smith OAM January 20, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    Hi Debbie,
    I will continue to call people un-Australian if their views are re themselves or their patch as for saying no-one understands or listens it is a fact as our views are always being belittled.
    Re, “When there are no EXCESS INFLOWS why should we be sending productive water as conveyance to evaporate in the lower lakes?” maybe you have a point we could let it evaporate in the East.
    Re, “the LRM would have stopped flowing if it was left up to nature” but left to nature the LM would have seen the LAST of the freshwater prior to tidal influence!
    Yes, “Ian Mott’s plan is much more sensible. We need to use the extra option as soon as we get into low inflow sequences not after we have trashed productive water as conveyance” but not remove the Barrages.

  86. Debbie January 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    Peter,
    It would be being used for production, not evaporation. Menindee and some of the other areas where evaporation is a problem is not the water that is being tagged. I am in total agreeance with Pikey about those places. Water gets wasted there too.
    Also, it appears that most agree that those barrages are not performing and in serious need of re engineering. If SA. wants to keep them that should be SA’s choice. The upgrades are paramount.
    I would also add that it appears in your last sentence that there is a major shift in your argument re using seawater sensibly as soon as we go into low inflow sequences not after we start trashing productive water as conveyance?
    Is that what you meant or did you not understand the sentence you cut & pasted?

  87. Peter R. Smith OAM January 20, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    Hi Debbie,
    Wouldn’t it be great if all water was used for production and none was allowed to evaporate but we don’t live in a perfect paradise but also without evaporation in the middle of Australia the Eastern States rainfall would be affected as it was during the drought!
    We know that the Barrages have to be massively upgraded but I believe it is not just at SA’s costs and there must be an investigation as to the best method and what the finished upgrade will add to the overall Basin and yes, “The upgrades are paramount.”
    No my last sentence is not a major shift as I finished the sentence with, “but not remove the Barrages”
    But in a previous post on/at January 20th, 2012 at 7:22 am say, “I believe Ian Mott is correct when he says about seawater one in ten years BUT WE BELIEVE EVEN THAT MAY NOT BE NECESSARY!
    Nice try Debbie!

  88. Debbie January 20, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    So Peter,
    You still believe that seawater is the LAST resort?
    I wasn’t trying anything, I was checking whether you had altered your position considering you said you agreed with the sentence you cut and pasted.
    Your argument re evaporation in central Australia has nothing whatsoever to do with the issues we are discussing.
    That water is not tagged either.
    We are discussing the water in the lower MDB. In paricular the management of the storages and the management of the lower lakes when we move into low inflow or drought sequences.
    I would imagine if SA would make a decision about their barrages SA could apply for assisstance. It is SA’s decision nevertheless.
    We’re still only hearing the ‘more water’ mantra. Accompanied by the ‘poor us’ mantra.

  89. Peter R. Smith OAM January 20, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    Hi Debbie,
    Of course, “You still believe that seawater is the LAST resort?” why wouldn’t I?
    Not from me your not, “We’re still only hearing the ‘more water’ mantra. Accompanied by the ‘poor us’ mantra”.

  90. Sean January 21, 2012 at 7:44 am #

    Peter,
    How many towns between Menindee Lakes and the barrages ?
    How many towns between Lake Alexandrina and the barrages ?
    Once again please refer to the e mail I sent you recently “how much of S.A.’s water supply comes out of the River Murray”.
    Surely in the time of drought with the new system in place we can allow sea water in. I am sure the total river flow since 21st. Octoberr, 2010 17,873 GL would have been sufficient to bring Lake Alexandrina just about back to normal.

  91. Peter R. Smith OAM January 21, 2012 at 8:14 am #

    Hi Sean,
    Your first two questions are irrelevant for a number of reasons 1) Menindee Lakes is in the Northern Basin and in 2010 only 1075-GL’s flowed into the River Murray, 2) Menindee Lakes are in the Northern Basin and only rum into the Murray when the water cannot be held or used in the Northern Basin.
    SA’s only takes 7% of the Basin’s water.
    Sean, I regret but must continue to repeat myself, if seawater is allowed to invade Lake Alexandrina the chance of repairing Lake Albert are virtually nil and it will also be neigh impossible to flush out all of the salinity in Lake Alexandrina and regulators will have to be constructed on the Finniss, Bremer and Currency Creek.
    Also we are of the belief with Lock Zero there, with proper management, be no need to use seawater in Lake Alexandrina.

  92. Debbie January 21, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    Peter!
    You are using bi polar arguments again. That 7% figure is an absolute nonsense as it comes from those meaningless long term averages.
    It also completely ignores the issues we are discussing at this post which is the best ways to mitigate in low inflow sequences and prevent waste in losses and conveyance when water is tight.
    Our system and our rivers have never ever respected long term averages. If they did we would not have needed to build the storages, the regulatory systems or the barrages in the first place.
    Long term averages prove nothing and solve nothing because the people using them are completely failing to recognise reality.
    Also, that figure completely ignores the fact that SA has always had the benefit of EXCESS INFLOWS which I see the need to repeat again DO NOT EXIST WHEN WE GO INTO A LOW INFLOW SEQUENCE.
    If using sea water is the LAST resort then SA will expect their conveyance water to be mined from other entitlements as happened in the recent drought. When it got very critical and there was little else left to raid, conveyance came off SA’s entitlement.
    AND STILL THOSE LAKES GOT EXPOSED.
    Please learn the lesson Peter. Under those conditions the water has to come from somewhere. It proved to be unsustainable.
    Surely the sea water option, sensibly managed something like Ian Mott’s & Sean’s plans BEFORE we start trashing productive water as conveyance is something that should be seriously investigated.

  93. Peter R. Smith OAM January 21, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    Hi Debbie,
    Yes we have had the benefit of excess flows and we use them on behalf of the Basin to flush the salinity out through River’s mouth.
    Also we have the benefit of the allocations SA’s irrigators don’t use, as the majority of our irrigator’s who don’t need their full entitlement lets it flow down the river.
    You ARE NOT LISTENING we believe that if Lock Zero were constructed and with the proper management seawater invasion would not be necessary and we also believe the acid sulphate soils will be kept covered!
    Re, “Please learn the lesson Peter” please listen to us.
    I have seen what both Ian and Sean have said but believe we can manage the LRM from Lock Zero and Ian is only talking one year in ten and retaining the Barrages so re, “BEFORE we start trashing productive water as conveyance is something that should be seriously investigated” I am not trashing, “trashing productive water” but our only method of moving water is the River!

  94. Debbie January 21, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Yes Peter,
    Your only method of moving water is the river.
    You are still missing the point.
    When there are NO EXCESS INFLOWS to use it takes roughly ML for ML to convey water to the LRM because the river is inefficient and also because you are so far away from the storages.
    Our entitlements were retrospectively mined so that water could be conveyed to SA. Understandably, we would like to see a massive improvement in the management and the mindset in SA so that next time we face those circumstances we don’t see our entitlements trashed to be evaporated in the Lakes and then discover the Lakes got abused anyway.
    Once again, I am not claiming it was wrong to ensure that SA got critical supplies.
    I am claiming however, that what happened down there was certainly not due to over extraction on our part…we were actually in negative. I believe your own upstream SA irrigators were also denied previously allocated water. It clearly was not the fault of upstream irrigation because they also had no water.
    We also don’t use all our allocations in normal or above average seasons. That is not what we’re talking about. You get some of our entitlement for free as well when the seasons are good. I’m fairly sure that most of us normal folk don’t begrudge you for that either. The ‘cost recovery maniacs’ in the government water bodies are probably a different story 🙂
    We are talking about when we go to critical inflows and it doesn’t rain.
    You are not flushing out salinity on behalf of the basin. The sediments and salinity are building up and cooking up behind the barrages and being stirred up by the Carp!
    There is still a problem with toxic sediments after continuos and repeated ginormous flushings that have been happening for over 12 months.
    There is no way that upstream storages can deliver what you have just had….and apparently you are still experiencing a problem there.
    Ian said that it looks likely that it would be about one year in ten. I would agree with that as an average assessment but IT IS AN AVERAGE.
    The last 12 to 14 years were very different.
    We need to learn the lesson from what has just happened.
    There is NOT A PROBLEM in average to above average seasons…except it seems… that even after millions of ML flowing out at your end….you still have a salinity/toxicity problem.
    What does that tell you about the prevailing ‘flush it’ mentality?
    I will also repeat my previous question.
    If the Sea water option is only used as a LAST RESORT when we go into low inflows, what has obviously happened to everyone else who relies on that water?
    That question required you to understand about the conveyance issue Peter and realise that the water has to come from somewhere and that somewhere, people are paying dearly.
    And yes….please remember that your only means of moving water is the River.
    Isn’t Ian’s suggestion about the trigger point being evaporation vs available inflows a much fairer way to deal with this issue?
    That way you could pool the precious fresh water behind Lock Zero and supply all the essential needs from behind there.
    The Lakes, if properly managed, can be maintained by sea water until the crisis has passed.
    Under those same circumstances with no human intervention at all, the sea water would have invaded big time during this last drought because there is no doubt there would have been no fresh water in the LRM.
    Somewhere in the middle of ‘fresh water only ‘ and ‘letting the sea just invade wherever it likes when flows are low’ lies the sensible and workable answer.
    I think Ian’s and Sean’s are very close and very fair.

  95. Sean January 21, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    Peter,
    What are you going to do when S.A.’s river flow returns to 3/6/09 12.7 GL, 10/6/09 11.1 GL, 17/06/09 11.8 GL, 24/6/09 11.8 GL, 1/7/09 12.8 GL a total of 60.2 GL. How do we pulsate a river with such a low river flows over Lock 1 or Lock Zero if it was in place ? We left the barrages closed and allowed the Lower Lakes and Goolwa Channel to fall over -1.M AHD. Total inflows into S.A. for 2009 ( not the Lower Lakes ) was 1122.3 GL ( just enough or not just enough ) when the total amount required to fill and maintain the Lakes for one year was 1050 GL to 1250 GL. There was a bit of whisper from a DNR person that in mid 2009 3 GL/week was flowing into Lake Alexandrina. November 2009 27 GL was pumped over the Clayton Regulator into the Goolwa Channel bringing it up to 0.75 M AHD while the Lower Lakes stayed at over -1.0 M AHD. I wonder why they didn’t try sea water between Clayton and the Murray Mouth ? Remember Peter this is the period when the section ( your patch ) upstream of the Clayton Regulator and D/S lock 1 suffered badly. Lake Alexandrina didn’t reach 0.0 M AHD until the 4th. August, 2010.

    1) Menindee Lakes is in the Northern Basin and in 2010 only 1075-GL’s flowed into the River Murray,
    Peter,
    What you are saying is the 1075-GL’s that flowed into the River Murray was of no benefit to S.A.. Well how did S.A.’s river flow increase to 5986 GL for the year 2010. The Menindee Lakes definitely weren’t much use in November 2009 as storage was 167 GL (10%). The Menindee must have been some help in 2010, as November that year storage was 1850 GL (107%) and storage November, 2011 was 1834 GL (106%). I use the month of November because the snow influence should have reached storage.

  96. Peter R. Smith OAM January 22, 2012 at 6:52 am #

    Hi Debbie,
    Re, “Isn’t Ian’s suggestion about the trigger point being evaporation vs. available inflows a much fairer way to deal with this issue? That way you could pool the precious fresh water behind Lock Zero and supply all the essential needs from behind there” has a great deal of merit though, any idea that does not have seawater as a LAST RESTORT is of little interest as we still believe that if Lock Zero were constructed we can do without seawater!
    Until the investigations are done we will not know!

    Hi Sean,
    What so many are missing that IF Lock Zero flow would be ceased at the Lock and as water was needed in Lake Alexandrina the necessary amounts pulsed through.
    Lock Zero would be used to store water between Lock 1 and Lock Zero and periodic releases would be made from the bottom of Lock Zero to keep the water level on the Lake at least +0.5-AHD (until that were no longer possible).
    When because of a drought/period of low inflows into SA occurred water being stored above each of the Locks in SA could be lowered ensuring some flow over Lock 1 to protect water for SA being sourced from the River below Lock 1.
    Water could continue to be pulsed into Lake Alexandrina to maintain a level ensuring all acid sulphate soils were covered.
    This is all conditional on the Barrages being completely upgrade, flows in and out of Lake Albert restored and Lock Zero constructed.
    Come off it Sean, “What you are saying is the 1075-GL’s that flowed into the River Murray was of no benefit to S.A” of course I am not saying that as I have always referred to the Darling as SA’s flowing reservoir.
    Re, “Lake Alexandrina didn’t reach 0.0 M AHD until the 4th. August, 2010” exactly, with Lock Zero in place this would probably not occurred at all.
    You must remember that Menindee Lakes are under the control of the NSW Government until there capacity falls below 80% when they revert that management to the MDBA but the NSW Government do at all times only make releases when they can’t hold the water in the Menindee Lakes.
    It is all about managing the capacity to store between the Locks in SA.

  97. Susan January 22, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    All this talk of properly managing barrages, etc etc. And so far to date there has not been a plan for ‘properly managing’ the barrages. Just ask the Coorong Fishery. And just as an example, take Torrens Lake in downtown Adelaide. They can’t even keep a freshwater creek and water feature clear of blue green algae during the Tour down Under http://bit.ly/xncQ70 .

    Everyone has their own idea of what is ‘proper’. Who is going to decide what is ‘proper’ and at what level the water should be kept? And what level of salinity is allowed? Does it matter that in the middle of summer on Australia Day we all get to have a full Lake for recreation? Or, does it drop down to promote mulloway and the fishing habitat? Who decides?

    Up till now the water levels are managed by how loudly the Lake Alexandrina shack owners and dairy farmers yell.

    And ‘seawater as a last resort’ what a joke that SA policy was. We reached ‘last resort’ and then some. I would say that when the state has to aerial spray lime in an futile attempt to prevent acidification of several square miles, well, that was ‘last resort’. Nope, not yet. Not according the ‘seawater invading’ people.

    People need to stop looking at the River like it is only a water pipe. It is not a pipe, it is a national river and the nations mightiest river should have an estuary at the end of it.

    The rest of us have to find ways to live with change.

  98. Sean January 22, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    Peter,
    You must remember that Menindee Lakes are under the control of the NSW Government until there capacity falls below 80% when they revert that management to the MDBA but the NSW Government do at all times only make releases when they can’t hold the water in the Menindee Lakes.

    Glad you told me I wouldn’t have known I am Irish.

    Why didn’t they try pulsating the river instead of letting the section ( your patch ) upstream of the Clayton Regulator and D/S lock 1 suffer. Maybe it had something do with the river flow 11 .1 GL over the border down to 3.0 GL into Lake Aleandrina. Minister Mayweld and Dean Brown were going to do the same to the Lower Lakes at the Langhorne Creek meeting but they went to Senator Nick who in turn went to Senator Wong who then brought forward $ 610 million plan and built the new pipelines.

  99. Debbie January 22, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    Peter,
    In particular please take note of Sean’s figure: 11,000 ML down to 3,000ML from the border to the lakes.
    Taking into account that some of that water was used for other critical purposes, in times of low inflow, that is still a scary conversion figure. It is in fact close to ML for ML.
    The basic question is still the same. Is that really a good idea or a sustainable idea?
    Susan is also correct. Why are we ignoring the fact that a river that flows out to sea needs a properly functioning estuarine/tidal system? That is actually a litmus test for health as well is it not? A tidal/estuarine system does not see sea water as a dangerous contaminant.
    The last resort is also a joke when looked at from Susan’s perspective. Being exposed to those acid sulphate soils would definitely have appeared way past ‘last resort’.

  100. Peter R. Smith OAM January 23, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    Hi Susan,
    I am not hearing the complaints from the Coorong and Lakes Fishery and managing the Barrages means a complete upgrade, stopping the leaking and ensure they can be opened and closed from computer’s ie opened and closed with massive manual operations.
    Oh please there is no comparison between the Torrens Lake and Lake Alexandrina.
    Re, “Everyone has their own idea of what is ‘proper’. Who is going to decide what is ‘proper’ and at what level the water should be kept? And what level of salinity is allowed? Does it matter that in the middle of summer on Australia Day we all get to have a full Lake for recreation? Or, does it drop down to promote mulloway and the fishing habitat? Who decides?” a proper investigation (after an upgrade) will set the management practices and all of your questions could be put to the investigation as public meetings would be part of any investigation.
    Susan I realise you don’t want to understand what I am trying to say but an investigation into Lock Zero would also answered many questions and if Lock Zero were constructed the minimum level in Lake Alexandrina could be maintain at approximately +0.5-AHD but at a minimum of +0.2-AHD maybe seawater would be allowed to raise the level to +0.5-AHD.
    What the shack owners and dairy farmers would be taken into consideration per same as your views would be listened to!
    The rest of your post is taken into consideration!

    Hi Sean,
    It would be impossible to pulse water into Lake Alexandrina from Lock 1!
    I have said many times the pool levels upstream of Lock 1 (in SA) should have been lowered!

    Hi Debbie,
    Like the rest you are reading but not understanding!
    IF Lock Zero were constructed the minimum level for Lake Alexandrina and Albert would be above what is necessary to ensure all acid sulphate soils are covered.
    Are you still (if you want, “A tidal/estuarine system”) are you still of the belief that the Barrages should be removed?
    Re, “The last resort is also a joke when looked at from Susan’s perspective” that is your opinion.

  101. Debbie January 23, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    Peter,
    I have never argued that the barrages should be removed.
    What I have continually argued is that the management system is not sustainable. We know that because of what we all learned in the drought.
    I have also argued that it should be SA’s decision to keep or remove or upgrade the barrages. It is your state and your area which will be the most affected by what is done or not done with those barrages.
    Management of areas like that all over Australia, although all have their unique differences, are handled reasonably successfully when the locals take responsibility for the management. SA and many of your arguments are all about saying that it is everybody’s responsibility and that your problems are caused by everybody else.
    However, everybody else is not allowed to point out that rather a lot of the problems actually originate in SA and are caused by decisions made in SA and that those barrages are not performing or delivering what they were supposed to deliver.
    I also think that your refusal to look at what constitutes a healthy tidal/estuarine system is rather odd and causes you to introduce arguments and research that are essentially bi polar. The Murray Mouth does after all empty into the ocean and is influenced by that simple unassailable fact.
    The final point and the most important one I have continuously made is that in LOW INFLOW SEQUENCES when there are NO EXCESS INFLOWS available, your plan has a fatal flaw in it.
    The drought has taught us that trying to keep those lakes covered in fresh water will mean that others will have to pay dearly. Whether it is done from lock 0 or not, the actual problem is the same. Lock 0 will only delay the inevitable under similar circumstances.
    Upstream allocations will be mined in order to convey water to SA and the lakes will be in a sorry state because there will not be enough water to keep them healthy.
    That is a lose/lose scenario.
    As Susan pointed out earlier, the Murray river is not a fully pressurised water pipe that you can switch on and off.
    The water has to come from somewhere Peter. Where do you think it comes from when excess inflows or even average inflows are not available?
    SA, along with my government have encouraged development and expansion on the assumption that there will always be excess inflows available.
    The drought has taught us otherwise.
    It has never had anything at all to do with flushing salts or over extraction in traditional irrigation areas and so on.

  102. Susan January 23, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    It is simple Peter. Lock Zero won’t work without a source of water. Pulsed or otherwise. And if you aren’t going to use seawater, then the only option is freshwater. It will be great for you in Mannum, holding onto all that water at Lock Zero below you, you’ll be able to hold your callop fishing derbies, but the Lakes will dry out behind it during a drought, unless you use water from the sea.

    Just where are you going to get this giant water pulser? Star ship enterprise maybe? Better make sure it can make water out of air while you’re at it. 😉

  103. Peter R. Smith OAM January 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    Hi Debbie,
    Re, “I have never argued that the barrages should be removed” my apologies.
    Do the investigations and remedial work necessary and if the investigations show that Lock Zero is feasible then after all of the remedial work and constructions are finalised and the management plans are put in place and when the cycle of inflows cannot supply enough water to cover the acid sulphate soils and only then so we move to ‘last resort”.
    Is that hard to understand?

    Hi Susan,
    No it won’t be so great for me at Mannum as to ensure ENOUGH water to cover the acid sulphate soils it may mean the pool level at Mannum could be down by up to 0-AHD we will also have contribute.
    I no longer and never did hold, “callop fishing derbies” I co-ordinated ‘Mannum Big River Fishing Competition’
    which removed over 15-tonnes of European Carp gave away approximately $100,000 in prizes and donated over $35,000 to charities which finished 3-yeard ago because of lack of volunteers to assist the committee!!
    Susan please my reply to Debbie above and TRY to understand what we are seeking.

    TO ALL,
    From another scientific source,
    “I think the impact of tidal intrusion has been overstated because the local tidal regime makes serious intrusions the exception rather than the rule. Given that half of each monthly lunar cycle involves very minimal tidal variation, and 16 hours of each remaining daily cycle also involves either minimal variation or outflow, then high tides can only occur for 1/6th of the year (ie 1/3rd of 50%).

    The historical references to continuous fresh water then become a function of pure probability. The lake, due to its shallow nature, was no place for small boats during storm events as the chop would be very dangerous. And when these events coincided with high tides they were also effectively “off the radar”. And that means that any local anecdotal observations of the composition of lake water took place during the more than 5/6th (84%) of the time when no tidal intrusion was present. If peak tidal flows were also likely to produce dangerous flow rates near the populated centres then the interval in which saline intrusions would not be detected would increase to well over 90% of the time.

    The strongest conclusion is that historical references to fresh water conditions in the lake are likely to be roughly representative of actual conditions but the sequence of anecdotal observations was unlikely to have picked up the character and scale of anomalous conditions. These anomalous sea water intrusions were unlikely to have lasted longer than 8 hours at a time. And given the distances involved in each transit, could not have extended far enough, under all but 9th decile circumstances (drought and storm surges), to impact on northern lakeshore ecosystems or agriculture.

    And that means that the fears of total barrage removal are overstated but the impacts on river mouth closure of a larger tidal prism are such that the barrages need to remain in place until a better solution is shown to be working.

  104. Debbie January 23, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    Starship enterprise!
    ROFL 🙂
    Good one Susan!
    In an ironic way it does require air.
    Air space in the storages kept there until all other options are completely exhausted and if recent history is an indicator even after the lakes are exposed and even after the crisis has passed 🙂
    Anything EXCEPT sea water!
    Apparently sea water is a dangerous contaminant at that incredibly unique and different river mouth ( that empties into the ocean so is therefore an estuarine /tidal system)??????

  105. Peter R. Smith OAM January 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    Hi Debbie,
    I know you can write but obviously when you read you have selective intelligence as you seem to only understand or get out of what you read what you want to be along what you believe or want.
    Until we have the investigations/studies NO ONE KNOWS THE ANSWERS!

  106. Sean January 23, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    Peter,
    “I think the impact of tidal intrusion has been overstated.
    The information on tidal intrusion I have put on this blog were actual figures from a person who believes in the Barrages. Tidal intrusion is at its worst on weekends when the barrage staff aren’t working as had a couple of times this year. Jim Marsh ( ex barrage boss )even mentions it in his interview September, 1999.
    He was the first person to notice the missing monitoring stations and was told by Government it was cost cutting exercise. Peter you would have they would have kept the ones from the barrage to Wellington active. Lake Albert disappeared for a while, then one came back and now they have three but there is still a few missing.

  107. Debbie January 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    Peter!
    Scientific source?
    I got that email too.
    I like the conclusions but you are being rather disingenious about the source.
    Perhaps you should cite the source considering your claim that it is ‘another scientific source’?
    I would also imagine the author of that email is perfectly capable of posting that information here if they wanted too. Remember I got the email too, the entire email.
    Also please note that it clearly points out that fears of sea water intrusions are over stated.
    It also points out that the barrages are not performing.

  108. Peter R. Smith OAM January 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    Hi Debbie,
    Re, “That information” I could cite the source but unless the person who sent it had said you can put this on the site or better still if the source has put it on this site I would not name the source.
    I know what is says and understand full well, “And that means that the fears of total barrage removal are overstated but the impacts on river mouth closure of a larger tidal prism are such that the barrages need to remain in place until a better solution is shown to be working” but until a better solution is shown to be working the Barrages should stay and also the point about, “but the impacts on river mouth closure of a larger tidal prism” and this is a problem (which does concern many of us in the region) with or without the Barrages being in place!

  109. Debbie January 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    but Peter,
    a) you said it was another scientific source and
    b) you posted it here anyway. (apparently without permission?)

  110. Peter R. Smith OAM January 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    Hi Debbie,
    Yes, of course you are correct but I DID NOT name the source but also of course you could do that I you wished as you also received it!

  111. Debbie January 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    But Peter?
    It was a private email not a publicly avaiable scientific source.
    I would not either post or name the source unless I was first given permission.
    You are correct I could also name the source and I could also point out that you have selectively cut and pasted it.
    Your claim that it was ‘another scientific source’ is quite disingenious.
    I do however like the conclusions because they are balanced. I am also aware of the amount of time and effort the author has put into this issue.

  112. Ian Mott January 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    Thats fine Debbie, thanks for taking issue but I have no problem with Peter posting my note on this site but it should have been properly attributed as “pers comm, Ian Mott” and a quick email would have been a courtesy, but not essential. Such attributions to email conversations are routinely included as part of the scientific literature and on many occasions the incorporated analysis is far less detailed, specific and testable than mine.

    What the analysis does show is that the fears of barrage removal are just as unfounded as the claimed benefits of barrage removal. The reality is that “Barrage Molestation” is a seventh order issue that is only just relevant in one year in ten. And given the current state of catchment saturation and storage capacity, we have at least another nine years, if not more, before we need to even begin to think about it. What to do in a 1 in 100 year drought was the ecological battle of 2007. We do not prepare for the next battle by training to win the last one.

  113. Debbie January 23, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    I agree,
    we do not prepare for the next battle by trying to win the last one.
    We do need to learn the lesson however:-)
    The current plan and the noise from SA is ignoring the lesson.
    We certainly have time now that everything is sodden.
    A political knee jerk reaction is not a good plan.
    Surprisingly I even agree with the WG that. a ‘number approach’ is completely unproductive.

  114. Peter R. Smith OAM January 24, 2012 at 7:09 am #

    Hi Debbie,
    Of course we need to prepare for our next cycle of low in flows throughout the Basin we must do the work that is needed now, i.e., the work to reinstate Lake Albert so the interchange of water through the Narrung narrows can happen.
    The proper upgrading of the Barrages must begin now and the investigation into Lock Zero must be started so as it can be found out if it is viable.
    It is about getting non committing politicians to finely get some spine and make decisions in the best interests of the Basin and Australia.

  115. Sean January 24, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    Peter,
    They can start now as they have done a lot of work between Murray Bridge and Pomanda Ilsand for the temporary weir. My little friend Blind Mullet has been telling me for while that temporary one upstream from Wellington was costed at $200 million.

  116. Peter R. Smith OAM January 24, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    Hi Sean,
    I am not aware of any in depth studies of a structure upstream of Wellington but whatever we are not talking about a ‘temporary’ weir it must be, in our opinion, similar to Torrumbarry.

  117. Sean January 24, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    Peter,
    As I mentioned above there must be ample information e.g. soil tests, River widths and depths already available.
    Alternate sites must have info on them.
    Sites :- The Old Road Bridge at Murray Bridge, four sites investigated for the Swanport Road Bridge,
    Tailem Bend River Crossing, Gas Pipeline crossing South of Tailem Bend, Adjacent to Wellington Marina,
    Downstream of the Car Ferry Crossing at Wellington, Millowa Ppoint and several sites between Pomanda Ils. and top of Lake Alexandrina.
    Peter did the Government get cold feet after they were forced to change the structure at Clayton where everything had to be natural materials. Lot of steel in the Pomanda weir.

  118. Peter R. Smith OAM January 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    Hi Sean,
    I had a private meeting with Minister Caica early last year and I can assure you from that meeting there is NO political will to look at a permanent regulator in the Lower River Murray.
    Whilst soil tests are routinely carried out in different places if Lock Zero were to be considered, even an investigation, it would need to be near Wellington in a narrow section of the River as close as possible to Lake Alexandrina.
    A narrow spot would of course be best and we believe just downstream of Wellington but it must be remembered it would have to be away from the ferry unless, if possible, it was to incorporate a bridge.
    Re the Temporary Weir proposed I am of the belief they found the bottom of the River was so silted up the 750,000-tonnes of rock they proposed ro dump in the River would sink too fast so sheet iron/steel would have had to be placed in the River on top of the tocks.
    To be honest it was an ill conceived plan with NO credibility on which, I believe, some $22-Million was wasted

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Talking Turkey, But Not About the Barrages | Cranky Old Crow - January 14, 2012

    […] Talking Turkey, But Not About the Barrages […]

Website by 46digital