After the Inlet to Rostocker Harbour Closed Over

There is nothing sustainable about the current management of the Lower Murray and its crippled estuary. Lakes Albert and Alexandrina are vast shallow near-coastal lagoons that started to dry-up during the recent Millennium drought (2003-2009). Despite legislation to mandate the buyback of over 3,000 GL of water, when the next drought is properly upon us it’s almost inevitable that water levels will again recede and its possible that Lake Albert (without a direct connection to the Murray River or the ocean) could dry-up altogether. If this were to happen, the South Australian government might consider reclaiming the area for farming or as a nature reserve. Indeed forested fields known as the Bøtø Nor in Denmark were once Rostocker Harbour – that was before the inlet to the Harbour became choked with sand.

The region has a similar geological history to the Lower Murray. The gradual melting of the last of the ice sheets in North America, Greenland and Antarctica resulted in significant sea level rise about 7,000 years ago. This resulted in the Southern Ocean flooding into an area of subsidence to the east of the Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia, an area now known as the Lower Lakes. At about the same time an area of land between Denmark and Germany was flooded.

In southern Australia as the sea pushed in, the Murray River was pushed back. A new estuary began to form with the Southern Ocean initially regularly washing in to the entire area through a wide opening. From the beginning, localised wave action would have deposited sand at the margins of the seaward opening of the young estuary slowly building sand flats, then beaches. Beaches build as sand from wave action is deposited higher and higher. When dry sand from the beach is blown beyond the reach of the waves, and then a bit further, sand dunes start to form.

This process resulted in the development of a string of barrier islands across the lower Murray and also along the modern Danish and German North Sea coast.

Barrier Islands usually form perpendicular to the dominant wave direction. In the case of the Danish coastline, the islands formed about 2 km east of the main coastline, leaving a sheltered area, a fine natural harbour, between the developing peninsula and the island of Falster.

By 1135 the town of Gedesby within Rostocker Harbour was a major port. In 1571 Sofie, queen to the Danish King Frederik II ordered the building of a ferry hotel at the harbour so she had somewhere appropriate to stay en-route to her homeland of Germany. In 1716 Tsar Peter the Great arrived with his ship in Rostocker Harbour and apparently stayed at this same ferry hotel. But within 50 years the entrance to the harbour had been in-filled with sand. Today, the body of water that once provided safe passage to rulers of both Russia and Denmark is a forested field. Gedesby is now located about 1.5 km inland from the modern east coast of Falster.

Top image shows the modern landscape.  Bottom image shows geography during the Little Ice Age with Rostocker Harbour open.  The area marked in yellow shows a chain of barrier islands, with the blue area below sea level and at that time covered in sea.

Top image shows the modern landscape. Bottom image shows geography during the Little Ice Age with Rostocker Harbour open. The area marked in yellow shows a chain of barrier islands, with the blue area below sea level and at that time covered in sea.

This article was first published at Myth and the Murray. It draws on information provided in the June 2013 issue of www.climate4you.com and the figure is reproduced from page 30.

53 Responses to After the Inlet to Rostocker Harbour Closed Over

  1. Pathway August 5, 2014 at 3:45 am #

    The one thing we know about the earth is that it is in a constant state of flux. Uplift and erosion a the two great titans doing battle for supremacy.

  2. Larry Fields August 5, 2014 at 7:21 am #

    Hi Jennifer,
    Hopefully, you won’t mind the following stooopid questions. My understanding of one of the main points of modern Environmentalism is that we humans should leave Nature alone, to whatever extent that’s possible. However the barrages appear to be an exception to that precept.

    Let’s apply the usual Environmentalist ‘logic’ to the barrages. Everything that we humans do is evil. Humans put in the barrages. Therefore the barrages are a reflection of human evil, and they should be taken out immediately. Even if upstream farmers don’t receive increased allocations of Murray R water, that action would be a big step in restoring the previous favorable environment for the Mulloway. What gives?

    There may be another Environmentalist dynamic at play here: Let’s make ‘evil’ humans as miserable as possible — even if the usual Environmentalist criteria are not entirely satisfied.

    It must be very difficult to fight unrepentant, albeit thinly veiled misanthropy. Am I being overly cynical?

  3. jennifer August 5, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    Hey Larry

    Yeah. There sure is a lot of hypocrisy from the environmentalists on this one. If they were consistent they would be for restoration of the estuary and removal of the barrages. But they aren’t consistent.

    They perhaps hate irrigation more than they love the environment… is this misanthropy?

    South Australia is the driest state on the driest inhabited continent. It’s also at the bottom of a river system. It’s historically been desperate to maximise the amount of freshwater it can get for its little ‘oasis’ of Lake Alexandrina.

    A couple of decades ago the Australian Conservation Foundation made the Murray River’s mouth, which is a tiny inlet between sand dunes that is often blocked by sand bars back to the time of first European exploration of the region, a symbol of irrigators upstream taking too much water.

    The conservation movement with the South Australian government, have since successfully lobbied for much more freshwater for this crippled estuary because they could take it from irrigators while storing it in reservoirs build for irrigators… when what is most needed from an environmental perspective is a reconnection with the sea.

    More politics explained here… http://jennifermarohasy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Murray-Estuary_Sydney-Institute-Paper-2.pdf

  4. Debbie August 5, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    Well said Jen!

    “Despite legislation to mandate the buyback of over 3,000 GL of water, when the next drought is properly upon us it’s almost inevitable that water levels will again recede and its possible that Lake Albert (without a direct connection to the Murray River or the ocean) could dry-up altogether.”

    Considering that the Murray was notorious for drying up in times of low inflows and seasonal droughts before the storage and regulatory systems were built. . .it is patently silly to argue that the upstream storage and regulatory systems are capable of mitigating a serious multi season southern MDB drought as well as keeping those lakes full and the Murray Mouth open. I am often amazed that in general, SA politicians and commentators were not honest enough to admit that it was a miracle that a least some water for critical supplies was still accessible in the lower reaches of the Murray during the depth of the millennium drought. . .particularly between 2006 and 2009. . .as it certainly would NOT HAVE BEEN if it was left to nature! During that period, SA was in fact very fortunate to have any water at all.

    As I commented to Jaycee at an earlier thread. . .I am the first to agree that SA has some problems and that they need help. . .but as Larry points out above. . .the claim that it is an ‘environmental’ issue is highly questionable… and many of us are completely over the whining and whinging. . . We had NO! WATER! for irrigation either. . .that was NOT uniquely a problem for SA. . .and that problem won’t be solved by putting environmental flows on to the back of floods nor will it be solved by jamming up the storages and expecting the system to perform in total contradiction to its original purpose and design.

    The barrages and some of the Lochs in SA are in serious need of upgrade and a complete rethink. . .the original purposes for having them there no longer apply. . . and SA SERIOUSLY needs to think about what its needs TRULY are. . . and stop trying to pretend that it’s everybody else’s fault.. . or that it’s chiefly an environmental issue!

    It isn’t!

  5. jaycee August 5, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

    Get a grip, fellahs…get a grip….there’s real people living here…there’s real farming going on…let’s not completely undo civilisation….this isn’t the IPA. wish-list!….We’re all in this country together…after all if they can get away with those dykes in Holland…

  6. jaycee August 5, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    And there is the accumulated acid-sulphate soils to worry about….it just may be a tad too late to close the barn door!

  7. jaycee August 5, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

    Geez! Jen….”Misanthropy” ???…..say!…have you been smokin’ some of that “biology” you been researchin?

  8. Debbie August 5, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    Good job of completely missing the point Jaycee 🙂
    The problem IS chiefly political don’t you think?

  9. jaycee August 5, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

    Debbie…Missed the point???…isn’t removing the barrages and the locks THE point?….and if it IS “political”, it has to be MORE about economic survival for a great amount of people…..and THAT may end up political!

  10. Debbie August 5, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

    Jaycee,
    SA has played parochial politics re water.
    SA has continually demanded major structural & social adjustment upstream so that SA can ‘maintain’.
    I don’t necessarily advocate the removal of the barrages. . . but if SA wants to keep them. . . SA needs to invest in some practical, sensible infrastructure upgrades that are in SA. . . & stop complaining that it is all the fault of upstream & that the issue is an environmental issue.
    Every change to water policy in the last 3 decades has resulted in direct benefits to SA. . .yet still SA whines and complains. . .and still claims that the issue is environmental.
    The barrages, the lochs, the pipelines and the SE drainage works are a result of direct human intervention in SA. Some of that public infrastructure needs some serious attention as it is antiquated and inefficient and not delivering good results.
    Jen is correct that the upstream storages and regulatory systems can’t keep those lakes full of water in an extended drought while the barrages operate as they currently operate. The upstream storages and regulatory systems were barely able to supply critical human needs and S & D supplies along the entire southern connected system.
    Amazingly, the only section of the Southern MDB that was shut down for a short period of time during the millennium drought was the Lachlan.
    If it was up to nature. . .the lower reaches of the Murray would have been dry or reduced to a sad trickle by about 2005 and would not have changed until the drought broke in 2010.
    The drought was tough. . .very tough. . .and it exposed where there are deficiencies in our storage and regulatory systems. . .whether you like it or not . . .SA has a few of those that SA needs to be honest about them.

  11. jaycee August 5, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

    Give it a break!, Deb…I’ve driven across the Murrumbidgee irrigation area several times…I’ve seen those huge canals of open water just waiting for the summer sun to evaporate the water in them…What is the evaporation rate again?…BTW. that’s a rhetorical q’…SA. has and has had for many years the most efficient irrigation systems in place along the ENTIRE river!…and as for the “whinging”, it is only from you that I am hearing any!…and the Lachlan was “shut down” because it had run dry!…not through any fault of SA……
    Where do you “Easteners” get off??…do you really think this nation begins and ends on the slopes of the Great Dividing Range?….The greater part of SA. agriculture , nth, sth, east and west AND the capital itself has managed on that piddling trickle of water we call the “Mighty Murray” for many years…we’re the experts on water management…it’s you “Easteners” that have blown the reserves in the system and now you got the moxxy to come cap in hand wanting US to sacrifice our pittance for YOUR greed!……you know what you can do with THAT…..think of the seventh planet from the sun and apply diligently !

  12. jaycee August 5, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

    Tell you what…try depriving those many farming families down the lower Murray their livelihood and it will very soon get more than just political!!….many will reaching for their armory!

  13. Jennifer Marohay August 5, 2014 at 8:32 pm #

    Jaycee,

    The idea is to post thoughtful comments. Not to post multiple comments that suggest an almost complete ignorance of the topic.

    So, I suggest you read something about the issue before you post again. I provided a link in my response to Larry. The following provides additional information… http://jennifermarohasy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Plugging-the-Murray-Rivers-Mouth-120212.pdf

    And of course no-one is being deprived of their livelihood. For $150 million during the last drought pipes were run around Lake Alexandrina to ensure those who irrigate in that area had access to freshwater. Across at Lake Albert some farmers opted to have their licences bought out and they received significant compensation.

    As regards the issue of acid sulfate soil… if the estuary were restored this would never be an issue because during times of drought the lake would be full of sea water. Potential acids sulfate soils only becomes acid sulfate soils when the water table drops and the pyrite is exposed to oxygen.

    Its fairly clear that you are pretending to be from South Australia, but your lack of understanding of the issues would suggest to me your from somewhere else entirely.

    Cheers,

  14. Larry Fields August 5, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

    jaycee August 5, 2014 at 3:57 pm #
    “Geez! Jen….’Misanthropy’ ???…..say!…have you been smokin’ some of that “biology” you been researchin?”

    Jaycee, I was the one who brought up the subject. Jennifer was simply asking a related question. You can get off your high horsey now. If you’re interested in where I’m coming from, here’s a slightly edited version of what I posted on another board.

    Larry’s comment:

    Several months ago, an online acquaintance challenged my claim that Gorebull Warming is a secular religion. It’s an integral part of 21st Century Environmentalism. But so is out-of-the-closet Environmental Misanthropy.

    Some Environmentalists are deniers of Human Exceptionalism, in the ethical sense. What do I mean by that. I’m glad that you asked.

    By now, we should be familiar with the effort of the Animal Rights movement to bestow personhood — and legal standing — upon *individual* animals. Yes, they are dead serious. (The newest wrinkle is personhood for individual plants.)

    And no, they’re not talking about guidelines for the humane treatment of farm animals, zoo animals, and of animals used in scientific research. Humane treatment has already been addressed, albeit imperfectly.

    Here’s a belief system that contains ethical propositions, which if taken seriously, have disastrous implications for Civilization as we know it. It sounds like a religion to me — and a bloody sick one at that.

    Environmental Misanthropy opens up a real can of worms. Apparently the EM loonies believe that murdering a human being is no worse — in a moral sense — than killing a cow for food. And no, I’m not exaggerating.

    Today you set out a mousetrap. Tomorrow, you’re arrested for attempted murder. Darwin help us if these religious memes ever find their way into the law!

    Check out this longish video, The War on Humans, at fellowshipoftheminds.com.
    http://fellowshipoftheminds.com/2014/05/07/the-abolition-of-man/

    Kool-Aid, anyone? /sarc

  15. jaycee August 5, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

    Jennifer…I KNOW you are resident in the east coast…you are only guessing where I am resident…and I am not going to give you an exact location…there are enough crazies out there without giving them a leg-up. But I will tell you this….I know this stretch of the Murray like the back of my hand (and I’m looking at it while I type this)….I have done irrigator / farmer surveys up and down this stretch of river…I have crossed the Murray mouth several times in the tiniest of boats in the fastest of currents..I have hunted, fished and swam The Coorong from the age of fourteen…my mother and her parents lived and grew up on the Murray…My auntie was born in a punt ON THE RIVER….I know how and who placed and hauled in the set-lines on the river..I have even worked on one of the old river boats that worked the Murray back in the 70’s (the M.V. Coonawarra) under Capt’ White and put up with his harridan mistress ; one Mrs Toft!…..
    I don’t know how long you have spent “researching” the river down here. or whether you just Googled links…but I tell you what ..and I’ll tell you very politely…don’t….don’t try telling me that YOU have a greater understanding of how this stream works than yours truly.

  16. Larry Fields August 6, 2014 at 6:52 am #

    jaycee August 5, 2014 at 8:55 pm #
    “Jennifer…
    I don’t know how long you have spent “researching” the river down here. or whether you just Googled links…but I tell you what ..and I’ll tell you very politely…don’t….don’t try telling me that YOU have a greater understanding of how this stream works than yours truly.”

    I’m going to give jaycee the benefit of doubt, and assume that he has spent a significant part of his life in the area. So what? That fact has absolutely nothing to do with our discussion. There are three important considerations here:

    1. The facts of the matter.

    2. The ability to recognize which facts are relevant to our discussion. The I-know-it-like-the-back of-my-hand stuff may have emotional appeal for readers below the age of 12, but it is not relevant here.

    3. Weaving relevant facts into a coherent argument, or into a balanced treatment of the various pros and cons of an idea.

    We Americans have a few pithy old sayings that may apply here:

    Three strikes, and you’re out.

    Blessed is he who has nothing to say, and who refrains from making that fact painfully obvious to everyone around him.

    If the shoe fits, wear it.

  17. jaycee August 6, 2014 at 8:04 am #

    ” 1. The facts of the matter.

    2. The ability to recognize which facts are relevant to our discussion. The I-know-it-like-the-back of-my-hand stuff may have emotional appeal for readers below the age of 12, but it is not relevant here.

    3. Weaving relevant facts into a coherent argument, or into a balanced treatment of the various pros and cons of an idea.

    We Americans have a few pithy old sayings that may apply here:

    Three strikes, and you’re out. ”

    The facts of the matter..: take away the barrages and when the mouth closes over , and the sea washes that sand up and the lakes become isolated from the sea and the next drought comes…what then..I’ll tell you what then, the lakes dry and all that acid sulphate and extras from over a hundred years of farming gets to be exposed and does what it then does best!

    The “know it like the back of my hand” scenario is the reason the American Army recruits it’s native advisers from local people when it wants good “on-ground” knowledge.

    I put up several posts on past threads on this issue….all I have seen or read from the “experts” have been a load of linked pieces, Jen’s (I presume)abridged thesis and a load of motherhood statements that have not impressed me one iota.

    “Three strikes and you’re out”….unless the pitcher “balks”, or the batter gets a “walk”…you see , Larry…when I was a lad, I played baseball…: pitcher, short-stop second base…..yes…a fast mover.!

    Larry…I hate to sat it mate….: you’re caught out on a “fly-ball”…..

  18. Debbie August 6, 2014 at 8:55 am #

    Jaycee.
    You’re ranting .
    No one is advocating that SA irrigators should be deprived of their livelihoods.
    No one has claimed that SA irrigators are not inefficient.
    It is the public infrastructure that needs attention.
    Yes. . .The Lachlan dried up. . .but luckily . . .because of the upstream storage & regulatory systems. . .SA had access to critical supplies.
    You don’t seem to understand that no MDB broad acre irrigators had water. . .it was not a unique problem for SA.
    Unlike you apparently. . I am not interested in apportioning blame & pretending that this issue is about the environment or depriving people of their livelihoods. The parochial politics have NOT delivered good results.
    Also. . .your argument about evaporation is highly flawed.
    It is shallow , still water (like in swamps, shallow dams & lakes) that evaporates rapidly in Summer.
    Flowing channels, creeks & rivers are not where major losses to evaporation occur.
    I think ALL Australian irrigation farmers are highly efficient & my recent travels to India has taught me how highly practical & efficient all of us ( including SA irrigators) are.
    I think you may need to get out a bit more Jaycee.

  19. jaycee August 6, 2014 at 9:14 am #

    ” Unlike you apparently. . I am not interested in apportioning blame & pretending that this issue is about the environment or depriving people of their livelihoods. The parochial politics have NOT delivered good results.”

    ” The barrages and some of the Lochs in SA are in serious need of upgrade and a complete rethink. . .the original purposes for having them there no longer apply. . . and SA SERIOUSLY needs to think about what its needs TRULY are. . . and stop trying to pretend that it’s everybody else’s fault.. .”

    ” SA needs to invest in some practical, sensible infrastructure upgrades that are in SA. . . & stop complaining that it is all the fault of upstream & that the issue is an environmental issue.
    Every change to water policy in the last 3 decades has resulted in direct benefits to SA. . .yet still SA whines and complains. . .and still claims that the issue is environmental.”

    Just what exactly, Debbie, are these “practical ,sensible upgrades” you talk about…and what exactly ..EXACTLY…are these faults of SAust’s irrigation system you keep banging on about ?….and why are these locks so antiquated?

  20. Debbie August 6, 2014 at 10:33 am #

    Hmmmmm?
    Jaycee?
    Are you claiming that the lochs and barrages in SA are just fine and dandy?
    Seriously?
    I wonder if you are aware of the flaw in your approach and your attitude towards Aussie Agriculture (whichever State or area it may be).
    The glass is half full Jaycee.
    BTW. . .I also think that the other State govts, particularly NSW & Vic. . .need to get their act together re water policy.
    It is public policy and public infrastructure that needs attention. . .the irrigators all along the system are way, way ahead as far as investment in upgrades and efficiencies go. . .way, way, waaaaay ahead.

  21. Larry Fields August 6, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    Jennifer Marohay August 5, 2014 at 8:32 pm #
    “Its fairly clear that you are pretending to be from South Australia, but your lack of understanding of the issues would suggest to me your from somewhere else entirely.”

    jaycee August 5, 2014 at 8:55 pm #
    “Jennifer…I KNOW you are resident in the east coast…you are only guessing where I am resident…and I am not going to give you an exact location…there are enough crazies out there without giving them a leg-up.”

    Hey Jennifer,
    Jaycee’s reasonable expectation of privacy does not extend to the general area from which he is posting. That is coded into his IP Address, to which you and Ray probably have access. For example, if jaycee is posting from Sydney while claiming to be elsewhere, there’s a simple way to suss it out.

    IP Address – What Is It? How To Check Anonymous Messages And E-mails

    http://nell-rose.hubpages.com/hub/What-Is-Your-IP-Address-How-To-Find-Out-Where-Spammers-Live

    Nell Rose is a very talented writer. You may enjoy her article.

  22. sp August 6, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    I dont a great deal about the issues on the Murray, but do learn a lot for this site/thread. It is a complex hydological/social/political issue. Particularly upstream/downstream issues i.e. somebody is “stealing” somebody’s water.

    I dont want to go off topic, but would merly like to comment that a similar situation exists / is developing on the Mekong River (Chinese dams etc) and others have noted this complex hydological/social/international political issue will likely give rise to conflict in the future. Water wars so to speak.

  23. Debbie August 6, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    The politics make it overly complicated sp.
    Water management in & of itself is not rocket science.
    There are some remarkable similarities to the political hijacking and abuse of science & statistics in climate science.

  24. Johnathan Wilkes August 6, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    When it comes to evaporation the large surface of the lakes combined with the relatively shallow depth beats any evaporation rate from the irrigation channels.

    In my opinion piped irrigation and potable water to the SA farmers would be a lot cheaper, safer and more reliable in the long run.

    And the barrages could be removed an a channel opened to lake Albert if desired to keep it inundated
    After it’s not as if the barrages were there from time immemorial?

    But what would I know?
    My aunt was born in Kyneton Vic

  25. jennifer August 6, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    Hey Johnathan

    My best friends grew up on a dairy farm overlooking Lake Alexandrina, and my Dad was born at Pyramid Hill not far fro the Murray. 😉

    But seriously, as I wrote above, the local irrigators can source their water from the pipes. But then they would have to pay for the water they used… like the upstream irrigators. Its my understanding… perhaps Jaycee can get her Aunt to clarify this for us… that by drawing directly from the Lake they get the water for free… as a long standing riparian right?

  26. jennifer August 6, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    Sp,

    A key difference when it comes to the Lower Murray is that the water is meant to be ‘recovered’ for the environment. But its being sent to the Lower Murray where there is just not much natural environment left. The estuary has been crippled through construction of the barrages and is now mostly full of carp… which is commercially harvested. The surrounding lands are farmed… with the rabbits making it difficult for the locals to get any revegetation going.

    The idea is that the once tidal Lake Alexandrina can kept full of freshwater from the Hume and Dartmouth dams which are nearly 2,000 km away… but this is just not realistic.

  27. Johnathan Wilkes August 6, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

    Well, if riparian rights apply there, why not everywhere else?
    Or am I mistaken it is?

    How far away from the river are you Debbie?

  28. Robert August 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    A Swede I went shooting with showed me his Scando way of eating carp. He stewed fillets slowly in very large amounts of butter. It worked, but when you think of the magnificent salt water species of SA…

    I don’t know the region well enough, but from an outsider point of view: very wide + very shallow + right on the sea seems the worst imaginable way to store water. It may require some engineering and compensation, but I just hate the idea of those barrages. Imagine proposing such a thing today!

    Anyway, our Guardian-perusing classes finally have a dam they can get on with. They just needed to find something that sucked enough.

  29. Debbie August 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

    We are in the middle of the MIA Johnathan.
    We are not on the banks of the river here and we do not have riparian rights like those around the lakes in SA or others who are on unregulated systems.
    We pay for our water and 60% of that charge is payable regardless of delivery. . .which meant that we payed for a negative allocation in 2006/07/08.
    I know that it’s hard to comprehend but we were in negative allocation from November 2006 until February 2008, when we finally received a 3% allocation (which we could do nothing with at that point). Right through those seasons we had to pay our water charges and we if we were able to access any water via the market the amount that was arbitrarily ‘owed’ would have been confiscated (and therefore not available for us to produce).
    For the first time since the opening of this particular region (1920), no rice or any other summer crops were grown on our properties in those three seasons.
    Just like the irrigators in SA. . .WE HAD NO WATER FOR IRRIGATION!!!!!!
    I tend to get just a little annoyed with the type of nonsense that Jaycee is advocating.
    Jaycee clearly does not understand the Water Sharing Plans or the fact that SA got ALL THE WATER it was entitled to in those circumstances. Instead, people like Jaycee like to pretend that they were the victims of the eastern states and upstream irrigation. . .which I clearly know is absolute nonsense!
    If it wasn’t for the upstream storage and regulatory systems, plus the rules and regs that look after SA’s entitlements. . .or if you like. . .if it was left up to nature. . .The Murray river would have been BONE DRY and SA would have not had access to critical human supplies and supplies like S&D and HS.
    That would also occur in seasonal drought conditions if it was just left up to nature.
    Jennifer is entirely correct that the system is not capable keeping those lakes covered with fresh water (that would of course rapidly evaporate) in times like the recent millennium drought. Even if all the available storages were used. . .they still would have dried up in that time frame.
    The water simply wasn’t available.
    There was only barely enough to make sure that critical human needs and S&D supplies were accessible all the way along the system.
    Jaycee needs to get the facts straight and also needs to understand that those of us who survived those incredibly tough times (including the SA irrigators) need to get off it and on with it!

  30. Johnathan Wilkes August 6, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

    Debbie some maintenance charges I understand, but 60%?
    Sounds a bit excessive to me, must be a large overhead involved in the organisation there somewhere?

    Even so, could it be deferred to profitable years maybe?
    I’m sure not every farmer can afford an expense like that without any return.

  31. Larry Fields August 6, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

    Hey Jennifer,
    While I think of it, there’s a way to slow down the evaporation rates of water in reservoirs. Add either hexadecanol or octadecanol, or a mixture of the two. (These two polyol molecules are insoluble in water.) Basically, it’s a controlled oil slick, but with a twist.

    Because of the -OH group, the polyol molecules form hydrogen bonds with the water underneath.

    This decreases the tendency for the polyol molecules to bunch up during windy conditions, and to leave more of the water’s surface directly exposed to the air. At least, that’s my understanding.

    But that’s old art. I have an approach that involves partially unexplored physical chemistry. If I’m ever traveling through your neck of the woods, I’ll stop by and demonstrate. In your kitchen!

  32. jaycee August 6, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

    Jen writes..: ” But seriously, as I wrote above, the local irrigators can source their water from the pipes. But then they would have to pay for the water they used… like the upstream irrigators. Its my understanding…”

    This…er..this pipe , Jen…this pipe that is going to supply the farmers …sounds good!….and the water for it will come from Lake Alexandrina, will it?….oh hang on, that’s been converted back to seawater….oh, I suppose then the water in the pipe will come from somewhere further up the Murray…..but hang on…even if one goes 80kms up the Murray, it is only a couple of foot or so above sea level…and now without the barrages, the surge of a king tide would push seawater right up there….
    So , While I concede that a “pipe” pumping water to these mythical farmers still surviving around the lakes is a brilliant idea…I’m just a tad confused where the water will come from….but hey!…that’s me!

  33. DaveMyFace August 6, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

    Jennifer,

    Sorry about this, but Jaycee has been around the web sites for years

    I thought you knew of him, he is entertaining in his little Imaginary world.
    He said above:

    1. “I have even worked on one of the old river boats that worked the Murray back in the 70′s (the M.V. Coonawarra)” The Coonawarra was actually P.B. Connawarra not M.V. -but simple mistake.
    2. “under Capt’ White” ? Amazing that Capt White was on the Murray on the P.B. Coonawarra. This is absolute garbage only to lead on to his next little play.
    3. “and put up with his harridan mistress ; one Mrs Toft!” Here is Mrs Toft – Mary Toft, the Rabbit Woman of Godalming [Guildford, Godliman], was a 25-year-old servant girl when she convinced several physicians, including the King of England’s surgeon, that she had given birth to rabbits.
    4. Jaycee also claims is a Dry Farmer from (WA, SA, NSW, VIC)
    5. The person is all over the place JoNova, SKS etc and all the stories are different.
    6. He also is responsible for reclaiming the BIGGEST area ever in the history of AUS back to native vegetation – JoNova – I have the link from years ago.

    Jaycees grasp of reality is sadly lacking.

    Sorry, I should have said something sooner.

    He’s always on this place – back in 2012, when Julia Gillard was under pressure, he bought up the same M.V. Coonawarra story:

    http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2012/09/10/Why-I-admire-Prime-Minister-Gillard.aspx

  34. Debbie August 6, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

    Jaycee?
    It comes from exactly the same place it always came from.
    It’s not rocket science.
    Didn’t you say you had driven through my area?
    The water is diverted and delivered.
    And yes. . .It comes at a cost. . .but does stop the profligate waste of water.
    Johnathan.
    The % is excessive.
    SWC (State Water Commission) recently tried to
    bump it up to 80%.
    Thankfully the ACCC did not allow it.
    The mindset & behaviour is remarkably similar to the ‘gold plating’ in electricity.
    It should indeed be linked to delivery of the actual commodity. . .because when we actually have access we can actually produce & therefore have the capacity to pay.

  35. jennifer August 6, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    well known SA wine critic, Philip White, is a practical man and he has suggested that… they simply shove a pipe into another place further upstream where the water is better, pump her down and keep irrigating… http://jennifermarohasy.com/2012/04/wise-words-from-wine-man-philip-white-concerning-murray-mouth-barrages/

    i understand the offshoots are currently from just above Jervois, they should be extended to just above Lock 1… give the value of fresh water water and that the Lower Lakes evaporates about 1,000 Gl per annum… its a no-brainer…

  36. Debbie August 6, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

    It is a bit of a no brainer.
    They would get water the same way as everybody else in Australia who lives on coastal lakes and estuaries.
    SA already supplements the Torrens river by piping from the Murray upstream.

  37. jaycee August 6, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

    Davemyface….I trust you are never employed to do research for anything but a conservative wannabe doctorate!!…..but I’ll let your lovely data stand…at my age in life , I’ve found it useful to not give too much accuracy to one’s identity……geez!…it sounds good but……and thanks for giving me a good laugh..you’ve made my day!

  38. Larry Fields August 7, 2014 at 3:40 am #

    Jennifer,
    Oops, I made a mistake in my last post. I should have said “alcohols” instead of “polyols.” Sorry about that.

  39. Debbie August 7, 2014 at 8:20 am #

    Jaycee
    One thing is becoming clear re this particular topic & re Australian ag in general.
    Your experience & knowledge re water policy & irrigated agriculture is rather limited and blinkered.
    Your question about where the water comes from and your comments about evaporation are 2 rather obvious examples.

  40. Larry Fields August 7, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    This is a follow-up to the post by DaveMyFace August 6, 2014 at 8:44 pm.

    Here’s my question:
    Is there any truth to the rumour that jaycee is planning to move out of his mother’s basement?

  41. jaycee August 7, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    Larry…my mother is as we speak , in palliative care dying from advanced Pulmonary Fibrosis…I believe there is no basement at the centre.

    There is something badly wrong with the attitude of this site…I know it mostly reflects right-wing views, so one must expect personal vilification to prefix every response to one’s inquisitive postings….but I’d think it reasonable to tone the attitude down a tad and respect Jennifer’s request to debate in a reasonable and factual way.

    I can dish it out as good as any if that is the game you wish to play….BETTER than many!….but I call on the moderator ; Bazz (I think?)…to get some restraint from the ferals.

    And Jen…While I quite enjoy Mr. White’s wine / industry critiques…witty and sharp as they are..I suspect he was rolling his tongue in his cheek with a mouthful of a bold Barossa Shiraz as he said it! Because he well knows that along with the Mannum to Adelaide pipeline, there is a Swan Reach to Moculta / Barossa pipeline (that waters all those lovely grapes there) and a Morgan to Whyalla pipeline. So he would know what is at risk from mucking around with the at present reasonably stable water supply.

  42. jaycee August 7, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

    Although upon reflection of Mr. White’s quotes (which I believe you have selectively quoted from, Jen and in one case I think “verballed” him), I believe that “red” firmly swishing around his cheeks may have been a vintage “Potts” from Langhorne Creek.

  43. jennifer August 7, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    Jaycee, Phil White tells me that he is not the only intelligent, forward-thinking South Australian with a good understanding of the Lower Lakes region and the needs of the local wine industry. And he tells me that he is not the only one who would like to see the barrages gone.

  44. jaycee August 7, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    I suspect that Mr. White would like nothing less than the breaking of the “Barossa power clique” that most probably draws tourists and funding from the local wine industry there..a local wine industry that is both very old and very good!…I sympathise with the idea of curing in one fell swoop the water problems of the lower lakes, knowing that the nineteenth century river transport dream was one of the major instigators of a secure river level and the lakes port hub. But what has since grown from those days would be devastated..and that would include Mr. White’s favoured Bremer River wine growers..as the entire system there would become little more than a salt-water marsh without some sort of sea-wall control .

    What we see with the lower lakes system is the engineering dream of a post colonial development that has had population entrepreneurial speculation grow from the initial success of that engineering. ..no different in kind to many grand irrigation schemes…the only drawback is that as those schemes have multiplied and expanded upstream, demanding first dibs into a limited supply and the possibility of that supply of water more at risk from climate instability, so that what is now seen as a millstone around the river’s neck, ought to be seen as an example of successful river management that needs to be considered in a “whole river” water management proposal.

    I would like to see the Murray – Darling catchment area be brought under the total control of the Federal Govt’ and considered as an essential utility to be managed OUTSIDE of state govt’ influence or interference…..perhaps like an Autonomous Area…with consensus decision making from those who operate and live and benefit or suffer within that Basin area….and that includes the environmental sector!

    Fixed it Jaycee (Moderator Ray)

  45. Ian Thomson August 7, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

    Tried to stay out, as I am a bit busy, this time of year.
    Jaycee, you are not actually a real , thinking,, sentient being , are you mate?

    Ian, lets not descend into a slanging match. I thought the last comment was quite good actually.
    Moderator Ray

  46. jaycee August 7, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

    If I may intrude and hog a bit of post space, I will add that there is a great deal of “parochial politics” going on around Lake Alexandrina. When you of the eastern states read of the rivers “Bremer” or “Angas” or “Finnis”…you may be excused for thinking of some gushing streams in your areas….let me assure you, those aforementioned “rivers” do most of their water-flowing underground! Add to this erratic flow, a growing area residential population in all of the country towns, a growing irrigation demand from expanded agriculture and viticulture and the only reliable source of potable water coming from the Murray or reservoirs in the hills. If you study the elevation around the lakes, you will see it is mostly very flat, very low. If there was no control of water level, it would be susceptible to the ebb and flow of swampy waters. Langhorne Creek township itself, has been known to sit under water for weeks on end in times of severe flood.

    There has been policy and research done to create a holding reservoir in the Strathalbyn area, using (I believe) the waters from all three of the above “rivers” BUT….the problem up till now, has been, with the growing populations, how to keep sewerage out of those “rivers”….I know for a fact that Meadows Creek, which feeds into the Finnis River is currently having an upgrade of its evaporation ponds..and not before time!…I am not certain how many more towns are being fixed…I know there is a huge amount of work being done to keep those rivers clean so to provide water to the growing populations around the lakes.

  47. Ian Thomson August 7, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    Jaycee,
    The grand irrigation dream is there and working.
    It stops large areas of N. Vic and S. NSW being disaster areas, from flooding and it supplies N. Vic, S. NSW AND SA, in dry times.
    Why does it need to fill a salt water estuary, with fresh water, that it DID NOT HAVE, before the dream.
    Yer dreamin’ mate

  48. jennifer August 7, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

    I was having trouble finding the actual blog post by Philip White about him, and me, and the barrages… but its there after all …

    http://drinkster.blogspot.com/2012_04_01_archive.html

    after you scroll down a lot you will find our pictures… and he calls me a pin-up girl of the climate change sceptics… and goes on to quote me suggesting… outrageously that… if the estuary were restored tourists could enjoy the bounty of the sea along with the local wines…

  49. jaycee August 7, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

    Interesting article by Mr. White….I see.

  50. Debbie August 7, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

    Who/what is the ‘environmental sector’ Jaycee?
    Are they somehow a separate entity from the other sectors who live and benefit or suffer within that basin area?
    Maybe you need to do some research re the management of the system?
    Once upon a time there was such a thing as consensus decision making in water management.
    That was how the storage & regulatory systems were designed, built & managed in the first place.

  51. jaycee August 8, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    ” Asian carp, or koi, were deliberately released into the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) during the 1940s and 1950’s to control aquatic vegetation. This subspecies became known as the Yanco strain, but failed to gain a hold. During the 1960’s, carp illegally imported from Germany to Boolara in Victoria, escaped into the Murray River when farm dams they were being cultivated in were flushed by floodwaters. The Boolara strain is the most widespread and has the most impact in Australia. Surveys by NSW Fisheries and the Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology reveal that carp is the most common fish found in the Murray-Darling Basin. At one site in the Bogan River, scientists found an average of one carp for every square metre of river surface area. ”

    THIS, Debbie, is an example what the environmental sector ought to be given separate powers to oversee, so that it doesn’t happen again…..BTW….(SNIP – GOOD ISSUE JAYCEE, BETTER WITHOUT SNIDE COMMENTS) MOD RAY

  52. Debbie August 8, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    Yes Jaycee.
    Carp is a menace.
    Of course. .if the lakes were allowed to to operate as an estuarine system. . .they wouldn’t be a problem there.
    Unfortunately. . . The ‘environmental sector’ is not doing anything much about the carp. . .they’re more interested in shutting down the entities that do want to do something about them.
    The funding has been withdrawn in favour of ‘climate’ studies and to ‘flush’ with water. . .neither of those help to mitigate the carp.

  53. jaycee August 8, 2014 at 11:55 am #

    Why, thank you , Ray!…..always willing to oblige.. “Okay jay” that’s what they call me.

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