“World Environment Day is a time to celebrate what has been achieved, but also to reflect on many seemingly insurmountable problems,” said Murray Darling food producer, Johnny Kahlbetzer.
“The Murray River is important to me,” said Mr Kahlbetzer, “And it is important for the Murray River that it has a healthy estuary.”
“Just as lakes and wetlands need freshwater, rivers need estuaries. The problems of the Murray are exacerbated by five barrages that now separate salt water close to the river mouth from fresh water in Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert. Built in the 1930s the barrages have crippled the Murray River estuary.”
“Freshwater needs to come down the River to trigger spawning of fish and flow out the Murray Mouth to take nutrients to creatures like the Goolwa cockle but saltwater is also required for the estuarine ecology.”
“The health of the Murray River and its estuary is dependent on more than the amount of water coming downstream,” said Mr Kahlbetzer.
“Yet in all the arguing about the new plan for the Murray Darling Basin there is no discussion about the Murray River estuary or the barrages.”
“I cannot see the logic in allocating thousands of more gigalitres of precious freshwater each year to these lakes,” said Mr Kahlbetzer, “when they have an estuarine history.”
“Evaporation from the Lower Lakes has been estimated at 1,300 GL each year. This is the equivalent of three Sydney Harbours of freshwater which is an enormous quantity of freshwater because the Lower Lakes are a vast shallow expanse of water not quite the size of Port Phillip Bay and maintained as an artificial freshwater system.”
Concerned about the current direction of water reform Mr Kahlbetzer has joined the group ‘Myth and the Murray’ to help get the Lower Lakes healthy and back the way they once were.
This is the first media release from the Myth and the Murray Group.
Adverts have been placed in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald for World Environment Day on this issue sponsored by Mr Kahlbetzer. For more information visit the media page at www.mythandthemurray.org
About Myth and the Murray – Myth and the Murray is a group of Australians concerned about the health of the Murray Darling and in particular its estuary.