What about Draining Lake Albert at the bottom of the Murray River?

Bendigo-based long-range weather forecaster Kevin Long has repeatedly reminded me that, at the end of the day it is rainfall cycles that are most important in Australia, not temperature cycles. Can we expect a run of drier years in the Murray Darling? Is this the consensus amongst not just the mainstream climate science community, but also the so-called sceptics including astrophysicists and long-range weather forecasters who rely on lunar and solar cycles?

If this is the case, despite the buyback of large quantities of water, Lake Albert at the very bottom of the Murray Darling catchment is in a particularly precarious situation without a direct connection to either the Southern Ocean or Murray River.

In a recent blog post at Myth and the Murray, I have drawn parallels between Denmark’s Bøtø Nor and the Lower Murray, and asked why there isn’t some discussion about the possibility of draining Lake Albert and turning it into a nature reserve?

Meanwhile the mulloway fishery could be restored to Lake Alexandrina simply by modifying or removing the barrages. Indeed record catches in the past occurred during drought years, but that was before the barrages.

Ultimately sensible water policy in the Murray Darling needs to factor in the likelihood that we could be in for some exceptionally dry years, and that the best way to drought-proof is to restore the estuary so the Lower Lakes are no longer dependent on upstream storages. But neither the restoration of the estuary nor the possibility of a mega-drought are on the government’s agenda.

These issues were raised in today’s occasional newsletter from Myth and the Murray. If you would like to receive the next newsletter: click here.

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4 Responses to What about Draining Lake Albert at the bottom of the Murray River?

  1. spangled drongo July 5, 2014 at 7:41 am #

    In its natural state the river would affect the lower lakes dramatically in drought. They would get no fresh.

    To artificially reverse that process and call it ‘environmental flow”, by taking from the people who have preserved water upstream for their own survival has no connection with environmental process.

    Maybe Lake Albert should be separately connected to the Coorong.

  2. Debbie July 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    Yes SD,
    The current mindset/ strategy is to try and force the whole southern connected MDB system to operate in complete contradiction to:
    a) What it did naturally before we built the storage and regulatory systems (including draining the SE area of SA and building the barrages) &
    b) The design and purpose of the upstream storage and regulatory systems.

    Thanks to Jen and others like her. . .I think more and more people are starting to realise that much of what the NRM system at all levels of government is doing, primarily in order to appease unrealistic community and political expectations about ‘the environment’ is simply not working and causing more triple bottom line (social, economic, environmental) carnage than anything else!!!

  3. spangled drongo July 5, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    Debbie, as Robert politely put it: the kids are running the kitchen.

    And we don’t seem to be able to put the adults back in charge.

  4. Beth Cooper July 9, 2014 at 1:19 am #

    Canute knew his limitations.

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