I’ve just sent off my submission, with John Abbot, on the Proposed Basin Plan. You can download the document [10MB] here:
The Proposed Basin Plan is seriously flawed because it has been developed from false assumptions that there is always a shortage of water in the Murray Darling Basin, there is no potential for significant flooding within the Murray Darling Basin and that any change to natural flow regimes are detrimental to ecosystem health within the Murray Darling Basin.
The Proposed Basin Plan is ostensibly about the environment, yet there is no plan to restore the Murray River’s estuary. A vast coastal lagoon, Lake Alexandrina, once dominated the estuary but since the building of 7.6 kilometres of sea dyke in the 1930s this area has been managed as an artificial freshwater reservoir to Lock 1. The reservoir is completely dependent on freshwater stored over 2,000 kilometres away in the upper Murray and Murrumbidgee catchments and is arguably the most degraded of all environments within the Murray Darling.
There are no plans to restore the estuary because the Murray Darling Basin Authority now claims Lake Alexandrina was never part of the Murray River’s estuary and has always been a freshwater lake. This claim denies a significant scientific literature concerning not only the origin of Lake Alexandrina, but also similar Holocene formations around the southern Australian coastline. A consequence is that best practice management developed in other parts of Australia for other intermittently open and closed lagoons is ignored. The current political solution of using water worth several billion dollars to keep the Murray’s Mouth open would be dismissed as absurd if suggested for the management of any similar barrier estuary system.
John Sayers says
Good performance on Alan Jones this morning Jennifer. He’ll be a great ally in your battle.
Thanks John. Podcast here: http://www.2gb.com/index.php?Itemid=41&id=2&option=com_podcasting&task=view
Unfortunately the interview was not on the regional digest of Jones’ show at 11AM, but I’ve picked it up on the net.
I’ve just sent an email to Alan Jones, letting him know what many of us here think of your efforts. I must admit I compared you to Paul Gallen, but not on the basis of any physical resemblance, you’ll be relieved to know.
Obviously, the reference has to do with your persistence in a fight.
Well done Jen,
You have been entirely consistent and persistent on this issue.
It is now paying well earned dividends.
Thank you for your part in ‘keeping the b***ards honest’.
The over arching, politically motivated assumptions are indeed false and misleading.
Reading many of the submissions on the MDBA website here:
Clearly shows how the invented narrative (based on false assumptions) has taken hold of the ‘environmental lobby’. They too are based on the false assumption that a ‘magic number’ to ‘flush’ out the Murray Mouth is somehow going to ‘fix’ the supposedly dead and dying mighty river Murray….They all seriously need to get out here and have a proper look!!!!!
You have done much to dispel this invented mythological narrative. Your joint submission is excellent. Your maps and pictures and graphs tell a completely different story….and it is backed by solid, referenced evidence….including generational records which are also known as ‘primary source’ evidence.
Alan Herath says
Well done Jennifer -very comprehensive and it exposes how limited science can sadly and easily be presented or “interpreted” to support a desired political outcome. One of the things I have learned from a long career in this and related areas is that the biggest decisions are often taken with the most limited advice and timeframe and in this case a green feeding frenzy created by a very infrequent drought that may never occur again for “500 years or more”. This is in contrast to the well known “bus shelter syndrome” that I experienced at the NCDC while working in Canberra some years ago – the modern day equivalent of the old film made about the french township acquiring their pissoir (Ive forgotten the name) which takes years of endless consultation and debate to sort out. Your efforts in raising this big ticket item should now get adequate attention and perhaps in the context of the Plan review timeframe to 2015 and possibly longer, where all the scientific experts including those in the doubtful category can come clean including Tim Flannery who you quoted at one stage as saying that he considered the barrages should be done away with!
Johnathan Wilkes says
Alan, I remember that, we watched it last year at our movie club.
Is this the one?
Just filing this here from NSW Irrigators:
“Subject: Basin Plan – Heads Up
Re: Basin Plan – Heads Up
The SA Government has lodged its submission with the MDBA. A summary (with a link to the full submission) can be found here.
Includes, Urgent: Recommends interim remedial work for damaged assets including the Coorong and Lower Lakes]
It can be summarised with these two “key requirements”;
More water than the proposed 2,750 gigalitres to be returned to the system.
Burden of adjustment to be borne upstream in recognition of SA’s responsible water use.
We’ve sought a direct response (via Twitter) from Premier O’Farrell and Minister Hodgkinson to this absurd and blatant parochialism.
The week ahead will be interesting.”
John Sayers says
get your shit together SA. you are in for a major battle.
hilarious – bring it on John and Jennifer, I have to admire your gall, although selective quotations is your specialty.
I cant wait to hear you talking to Alan Jones – should be good for a laugh
the barrages aren’t 7.6km long. The barrages in combination with
8 Billion – interesting sums given there is supposed to be already about a quarter of that water recovered so that would then be a cost of about 6 Billion by your maths
ahhh tidal dynamics and physics are still not your strong point. I guess given you don’t understand climate you cant understand water flows either.
Allan – common sense…you wouldn’t know the meaning of it and no I don’t subscribe to the ABC.
Sorry – apologies. I forgot to say the barrage aren’t 7.6km long – the barrages in combination with the barrier islands makes a 7.6km long barrier between the Coorong and Lake Alexandrina. Sorry to be pedantic…
“the barrages aren’t 7.6km long. The barrages in combination with”
Then the sentence ends, just when it was getting interesting.
Finishing statements not your strong point?
Never mind the lack of content, that snobby, patronising tone has established your Green credentials, far better than any junk science could do.
So the barrages aren’t 7.6km long, they just help form a barrier of that length? AND the food from the MDB isn’t feeding the starving masses?
These are issues!
But wait! Jennifer said:
“the building of 7.6 kilometres of sea dyke”
So, Jen did not claim that length for the barrages alone?
But maybe I’m selectively quoting.
Alan Herath says
Yes Jonathan, Clochemerle is it
John Sayers says
Sebastian – the barrages are made up of raised roadways and concrete structures, i.e all man made. The total length of this construction is 7.375km.
do the math yourself!
John Sayers says
The 7.6km is the length of the man made construction which consists of raised roadways and concrete structures.
here, do the math yourself, if you can.
Jennifer Marohasy says
Sebastian and Robert
The combined length of the barrages is 7.6 kms.
This is the official figure and I’ve just got my map of the Fleurieu Peninsula out, plus ruler, and it measures about the same from the map.
Go to Google and have a look from a satellite map.
The longest barrage is the Tauwitchere Barrage connecting Pelican Point with Tauwitchere Island and really is long, probably nearly 6 kms. I was out looking at it in a boat last August: an impressive structure.
Removing this barrage now wouldn’t change much because there is already significant infilling in that shallow area. It is removal of the much smaller (about 200 metres wide) Mundoo barrage that would make a big difference.
Also, the combined length of barrages plus island is roughly 24 kilometres, most of this Hindmarsh Island.
Johnathan and Alan, for years I thought that Gabriel Chevalier’s novel, Clochmerle, was based on an entirely fictitious town. I was recently hiking in France and ran into a lady from Vaux-en-Beaujolais, the model for Clochemerle. Not only is the town real, the urinal is still there – quite a tourist attraction these days. Normally, I never press must-reads and web-links on people, but I’d make an exception for Clochemerle. It’s such a great novel, but doesn’t try to be (groan) “great”.
Jen, your interview was on Jones’ regional digest today. Sebastian wants you to “bring it on”?
You brought it on.
Ian Thomson says
I just accidentally heard a repeat of your Alan Jones interview . Good stuff, very good actually.
Have been going to ask if you are aware of the ‘ tiny’ story in last Friday’s Deniliquin Pastoral Times,(also tiny. ) The story was broken by the Mayor of Conargo Shire, who has found that the fools who are buying the ‘wishwater’ ,have to still pay all the fixed charges attached to it . It appears we are up for about $1.5 BILLION so far.
Waiting for the ABC to ‘find’ this fact.
Keep it up mate
No mention of the barrages or restoring the estuary in the Australian Conservation Foundation submission here:
all it mentions is the Murray Mouth.
Other than that, there is no mention of the problems that have developed in SA.
They have completely ignored SA.
No mention of that ‘always fresh’ position or the Coorong? Also no mention of that 95% figure they have repeatedly touted?
Have they dumped those positions?
They also want the infrastructure budget to go towards re engineering constraints so that we could more easily ‘flush’ 4,000+ GL from the storages.
They have also referred to the latest CSIRO report that ‘assumes’ that low flows caused by ‘over allocation’have been the problem.
Their ‘cost benefits’ recommendation is to just ‘buy back’ from ‘willing sellers’ and then the govt must use a ‘whole of govt approach’ to ‘ transition’ communities.
Don’t they understand our natural ephemeral wetland environments?
They seem to think that the Murray should always naturally be flowing enough to scour out the Murray Mouth?
I am also very curious to know how inland communities can be ‘transitioned’ in ACF world?
Transitioned to what? And for what useful purpose?
These people live in an ‘airy fairy’ land.
Peter R. Smith OAM- Mannum says
I listened to your interview with Alan Jones three times to make sure I heard properly and am amazed that you now have Alan Jones on side as I thought he was intelligent and the sad part is he has probably the biggest listening audience in Australia.
I then read your submission, sebastian is correct, “I have to admire your gall, although selective quotations is your specialty” he is spot on!
Why would the ACF mention the Barrages as Minister Bourke said to me last week, “There is no move to remove the Barrages” but keep it up as it is obvious that along with you John Sayers, Robert, Alan Herath, Ian Thomson and of course Jeniffer you don’t understand the Lower River Murray and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert and the tidal movements at the River Murray’s mouth!
May I add that I am yet to meet any member of the Ngarrindjeri community that want the Barrages removed!
Thanks for listening.
And for others, the link is here: http://www.2gb.com/index.php?Itemid=41&id=2&option=com_podcasting&task=view
Scroll to April 16.
Peter, a massive freshwater system maintained artificially, right on the coast, is a hard sell, You have done a terrible job of selling it here, and the patronising is not helping now. If there is a case to be made, you may want to step back and let someone else express the case. Perhaps not Sebastian, on recent form!
Loving the Myall Lakes system as much as I do, I am amazed that the Murray barrages haven’t been a bigger issue with conservationists. Status quo and a few good reasons don’t constitute a good case. Like I said, if there is an overall case for keeping the barrages, it has not been made here with any clarity. My mind is open, because I am so remote from SA and the MDB, but convincing people that a massive coastal lake system is, or should be, constantly fresh – that’s a huge case to make. You need to recognise that.
Peter R. Smith OAM- Mannum says
I listen to as much as I possibly can about the LRM and our Lakes Alexandrina and Albert and though I am not a great reader I read as much as possible as I am certainly interested in all sides of the argument. How can I, if I don’t find out, continue to put our case?
As you are so remote from the MDB and especially the Lower River Murray including Lakes Alexandrina and Albert and the Coorong you should either visit our read more about our region.
I shall explain it in plain terms. If the Barrages were removed Lake Alexandrina would begin to become saline, Lake Albert would become hyper-saline, if the River’s flow diminished the River’s mouth would become blocked as the incoming tide would deposit more sand/silt than the outgoing tide could remove.
About the tides from a colleague: – “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%).”
During times of low inflows into the Basin and therefore over Lock 1 at Blanchetown the 274-Kilometres stretch from the Southern Ocean would/could be contaminated by seawater.
If this were to occur the off takes for South Australia’s potable supply to about 90% of SA’s population would/could be at serious risk as also would all irrigation below Lock 1.
All flora and fauna and all reliance on freshwater would be under threat and the Lower River Murray could become a semi-saline waste land.
You loudly accuse Jen of selective quotations and then do exactly the same thing with the quotation from your so called colleague!
Just for a start, this particular person does not see sea water as a ‘contaminant’.
Neither does this person state the ‘doom and gloom’ prophecies that you have posted here.
HOW the tide affects the mouth is possibly debatable….the fact that it does and that we need to repair and upgrade is not debatable.
Your ‘doom and gloom’ prophecies do nothing at all to help solve this issue. Nobody wants to see something like that happen.
Peter R. Smith OAM- Mannum says
Formal Submission (1 of 2) to the Murray Darling Basin Authority in respect of the Basin Plan.
Prepared by Ian Mott, Secretary, The Landholders Institute. 16th April 2012.
There is a vigorous campaign being waged by Jennifer Marohasy and her Australian Environment Foundation to remove the barrages at Lake Alexandrina and somehow “restore” what is claimed to be the area’s inevitable destiny as a barrier estuary. As if the Coorong was not such a barrier estuary already. And for some reason known only to themselves the AEF have decided that any future mixing of fresh water that takes place inside where the barrages are located is more ecologically noble than current mixing that takes place outside the barrages. Do the fish give a tinkers cuss?
This campaign has had a great deal of publicity recently due to some very ham fisted effort from ABC Media Watch to paint the AEF as some sort of dangerous foreign funded right wingers under the bed. This has turned Ms Marohasy into a ‘cause célèbre’ in some conservative circles but it has also drawn attention away from the very serious flaws in this proposal. And worse, it is also distracting attention from the real and present flaws in the science behind the MDB Plan. There are more than enough of these already without adding imaginary ones steeped in vaudeville.
The AEF have borrowed from the standard green spin book by claiming that the benefits of removing the barrages and the assumed replacement of fresh water evaporation with tidal sea water evaporation are, a disturbingly vague, “up to 1 million megalitres a year”. And it has been implied that this ‘saving’ will somehow accrue to the tax payer in general and upstream irrigators in particular. But no detail as to how this figure has been calculated have been provided and the only semblance of disclosure has been on a blog site with reference to current net annual evaporation for both lakes. And just like the climate mafia MO, legitimate critique is dismissed as ‘junk science’ and the work of ill-informed opinionators with an axe to grind.
The reality is quite different. For a start, the “1 million megalitre” figure can only come from subtracting the mean annual rainfall figure from the raw pan evaporation total for that region. Ms Marohasy either didn’t understand, or chose to ignore, the fact that actual evaporation from a large body of water is generally about 20% less than the pan evaporation total that is obtained under experimental conditions. Local pan evaporation is about 1565mm so the actual is only 1252mm. So when we deduct the 468mm mean annual rainfall as recorded at the Meningie weather station we get a net figure of 784mm which, when applied to the 75,350 hectare surface area when the lakes are at AHD, amounts to only 590,600ML. Even when the 1st decile (1 in 10 year drought) rainfall total is used the net evaporation rate only rises to 910mm and a total volume of 685,500ML. Interestingly, The Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth Long Term Plan, Appendix 3 appears to have adjusted Pan to Actual evaporation by a factor of only 0.92.
But note that net evaporation would only produce a significant reduction in lake volume if there was zero flow in the Murray River over a full 12 months interval. And it would only be at the end of that 12 months that the cumulative 685,500ML shortfall allowed the same volume of sea water to enter the open lake. We can assume that the CLLMM Long Term Plan has done a better job of estimating actual lake volumes at various lake levels. It estimates the volume of the lakes when the surface has dropped to AHD at 1,288,000ML so the lakes would still be a notional 47% fresh after 12 months of no flow.
And only in the second year of a combined no-flow and a second consecutive 1st decile rainfall event (a 1 in 50+ year event) would the volume of fresh water evaporation drop below 322,000ML.
At this point the AEF/Marohasy logic starts to get even fuzzier. They suggest that the ebb and flow of the tides will produce a much greater mixing of the two water bodies so that much more of the evaporation comes from sea water. But they fail to appreciate that perfectly good fresh water that mixes with sea water and flows out to sea is just as ‘wasted’ as fresh water that is evaporated. And none of either type will amount to any benefit to up-stream irrigators. They have also failed to explain how this mixing might take place through the narrow entrance to Lake Albert when the lake levels, sans Barrages, will have dropped by half a metre to AHD. Achieving greater mixing through a shallower cross section is more than just a little bit problematic.
It should not be forgotten that this “up to 1 million megalitres” claim implies that it will be saved each year. But when we deduct the mean annual rainfall figure from the actual evaporation it should also be obvious to most that 590,660ML average evaporation can be completely negated by a river flow of the same modest volume. As long as the river flow is greater than the evaporation shortfall there is minimal scope for a permanent transfer of sea water into the lakes because the fresh water continues to push the sea water back. But the fuzzy logic of the AEF appears to have a problem with the fact that the sea water that comes in on the few high tides each month that exceed 70cm amplitude is the same stuff that goes back out six hours later, leaving the fresh water exactly where it was earlier.
When I explained that there can be no significant transfers of sea water while river flows were anything more than the very modest, Ms Marohasy then asserted that significant intrusions could still take place during the low-flow half of the year. This actually sounds plausible at first reading but Ms Marohasy either did not know, or chose not to disclose, the fact that the lowest flows are in Autumn and Winter when evaporation is also lowest and, more importantly, when rainfall is highest. From May to September in an average year local rain falling on the lakes themselves actually exceeds evaporation from them to produce a net outflow independent of interstate river flows. This period also coincides with maximum run-off from local creeks that drain into the lakes. The combined outcome is substantially diminished capacity to accommodate tidal inflow at the very time when Ms Marohasy claims such inflows will be greatest.
At no stage does the AEF appear to have made any attempt to quantify the likely volume of tidal intrusion based on the atypical (to the point of yet more SA weirdness) tidal behavior in that location. There is generally only one tide each day, and that is only during the 50% of the lunar cycle when they even take place at all. And, aside from storm surges, they only exhibit a tidal range greater than 70cm on 4 or 5 days each month. There has also been no mention of the fact that in 9 years in 10 there will be a continuous flow of warmer, less dense river water that will occupy the surface of the lake while the colder, denser sea water forms a salt wedge underneath, where it obviously cannot evaporate.
This was not the case before the major storages were built. The annual melt water previously flowed quickly to the mouth and was colder than the sea water and produced much greater mixing with that denser sea water.
One must conclude that the above mentioned substantially reduced estimate of fresh water evaporation savings will be reduced a great deal further due to the occurrence of the salt wedge effect. It is highly unlikely that actual savings would amount to even 10% of the AEF claim and even then it would be a one in ten year event or longer.
So next time you hear those seductive, almost plausible, claims to “restore the estuary” and remove the barrages you would do well to keep in mind that the estuary only functioned properly with the help of every drop of water that is currently in storage upstream. Without that average extra 12 million megalitres of river flow each year the Murray mouth would be almost continually closed. The overwhelming geophysical dynamic in that location is the deposition of beach sand inside the mouth from the differing velocities of inflowing and out flowing tidal flows. The AEF have consistently refused to accept the fundamental scientific reality that the capacity of flowing water to shift sediment is determined by the square of the flow velocity. At most times the inflowing tides take 8 hours while the outflow takes 16 hours and that means the inflowing tides, in the absence of river flows, deposit four times more sediment than the outflow can remove.
An equilibrium of sediment movement is only achieved when river flows are sufficient to double the volume of outflows so the velocities of both flows are matched. Prior to irrigation allocations this was usually the case but since then it has become a less frequent norm. The barrages have been a very useful response to this by substantially reducing the size of the tidal prism so both tidal inflow volume and velocity have also declined and sand deposition has declined with it.
Now, when storm surges which would normally dump tens of thousands of cubic metres of sand inside the mouth in a single event, the smaller tidal capacity produced by the barrages reduces both the volume and velocity of the inflow and the volume of sand it brings with it. Enlarge that tidal prism by a blunt, unmeasured removal of the barrages and the scale, speed and frequency of mouth closure is increased. And that will only produce even more strident demands for yet more irrigator’s precious fresh water in a futile attempt to get the Murray mouth open again.
Normal tidal intrusion through a small mouth opening would be far too little, and travel far too slowly, to ever get much beyond where the barrages are today. So the long term prospects for replacement of fresh water evaporation are dim.
More importantly, mouth closure would pose a very serious problem for every farmer in the MDB. An open Murray mouth and a healthy, tidal Coorong is a key ecological performance indicator. Farmers have enough trouble hanging onto the water they still have without further degrading that indicator and strengthening the arm of those who want even more water.
Accordingly, Ms Marohasy and the AEF must provide detailed estimates of the actual volume of fresh water evaporation they think barrage removal will deliver over the climatic cycle. And she could then explain, in a context of continued outflows from the Murray mouth, how these “savings” will actually accrue to the taxpayer in general and farmers in particular. Without such detailed substantiation of these claims the MDBA has a professional duty of care to ignore submissions that do not stand up to informed scrutiny.
Detailed critique of real, rather than imaginary, problems with the science behind the MDBA Plan is presented in the second of two submissions, along with real, rather than imaginary, alternate solutions.
Yours in the public interest,
Peter R. Smith OAM- Mannum says
I have posted Ian’s submission (as submitted) which can be found on the MDBA web site, I look forward to your reply.
Here is the one that actually discusses solutions!!!!!
Note that there is no mention of contaminants or doom and gloom.
Take particular note of the conclusions.
It is quite clear that Jen and Ian have different opinions about tidal influences. However Peter, neither of them pretend that those Lakes and that area are not heavily influencerd by its coastal position.
Formal Submission (2 of 2) to the Murray Darling Basin Authority in respect of the Basin Plan.
Prepared by Ian Mott, Secretary, The Landholders Institute. 16th April 2012.
This submission calls into question the very need for large volumes of additional water as claimed by the proposed plan. My submission to the Guide to the Plan, dated 24th March 2011, and included again in this submission as an attachment, examined a number of options for maintaining an open Murray mouth without the use of more than 3 million megalitres of fresh water flows through the mouth.
That submission concluded that equilibrium sediment flows could be achieved at a fraction of the cost of major buy-backs through the use of large pipes under the dunes, located either side of the Murray mouth, with ocean side intakes above the sand but below the wave zone, with valves allowing inflows only, to ensure that only half of all tidal inflows flow through the mouth. This would then ensure that larger outflows through the mouth, sourced entirely from cheap and abundant sea water, were of sufficient volume and velocity to match the sand deposition capacity of the asymmetrical tidal inflows.
That submission also concluded that, unlike river flows, the use of such pipes allowed for proportionate flow responses in all conditions, including the storm surges that are responsible for the majority of sand deposition. The higher the storm induced sea level outside the dunes, the faster the rate of inflow through the pipes and the greater the volume of inflows achieved that are incapable of bringing sediment with it.
That submission also noted that pipes under the dunes allowed for a nil response to the 50% of time when tidal inflows were either minimal or non-existent. The use of fresh water, released from distant and expensive up-stream storages, provided minimal scope for proportionate responses. Almost 100% of fresh water outflows during the 50% of times with minimal tidal variation are wasted.
That 2011 submission, and a subsequent December 2011 article in Quadrant, (also enclosed as an attachment) highlighted the futility, inefficiency and likely gross negligence, of trying to use large volumes of fresh water flowing through the Murray mouth to influence salinity levels at the far end of an 80km long closed ended system like the Coorong. The 14 million megalitres of river flow into South Australia over the 11.5 months to 10th December 2011 only succeeded in reducing South Lagoon salinity levels by half from 5 times that of sea water to 2.5 times, indicating that less than 70,000Ml (0.5 of 1%) of that 14 million ML actually managed to “slosh” all the way to where it was actually needed.
The conversion of such systems to appropriate passive cyclical flows through the use of similar pipes under the dunes is the only management alternative that is capable of being 100% effective in restoring the full suite of ecological values to such systems.
It has subsequently come to our notice that the local Ngarindjerri community has an issue with open excavation of the dunes in a way that may disturb ancestral burial sites. This is an entirely legitimate concern that should be respected. But this would not appear to rule out tunneling in a way that minimises the disturbance cross section and passes below the strata that may contain material of significance.
It should also be noted that the dune system either side of the existing Murray mouth has undergone very significant natural disturbance as the mouth itself has moved a number of kilometers in both directions over the past century. This process has involved complete disturbance and relocation of the entire sand volume on numerous occasions. And it would appear to render the dunes in that vicinity no different to the sand that has been deposited inside the mouth and subsequently subjected to dredging in recent years with the implied consent of, or despite the objections of, the Ngarindjerri.
Yet, the South Australian Government has been funding extensive modeling to determine how much flow would be required to manage salinity levels in Lake Alexandrina. Heneker, T.M. (2010/5) “Development Of Flow Regimes To Manage Water Quality In The Lower Lakes, South Australia”, South Australian Department for Water, Murray–Darling Basin Division, has been a primary input informing the MDBA’s understanding of the need for end of system flows.
The problem with this modeling is that it only models Lake Albert as a closed ended system with a very restricted entrance. This allows them to state that “The nature of Lake Albert, as a terminal wetland with its narrow connection with Lake Alexandrina, means that flow into and out of this lake is controlled by water level, wind and evaporation”.
And this then provides an excuse to conclude that “It is not practical to manage salinity levels within Lake Albert independently”.
This critical input to the MDBA Plan is based on modeling that assumes that mankind must sit back like stunned mullet while a closed ended system is needlessly preserved as a major source of evapo-concentration that exacerbates salinity elsewhere. As long as saline water in Lake Albert can only be flushed back into Lake Alexandrina by inefficient supply of fresh water from the same source then it can only operate as an outrageous fabrication of a need for unjust removal of water from upstream users.
South Australia, and the MDBA, have a fundamental obligation to take reasonable and practical steps to fix a local problem before making a huge and disruptive call on the rest of the country. And in relation to Lake Albert they have done no such thing.
Specific data for the volume of Lake Albert is not provided in the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth Long Term Plan (CLLMMLTP) but we do know that Lake Albert is approximately 20% of the total surface area of the two lakes and that plan indicates that at AHD+50cm the volume of both is 1.68 million megalitres. And if the depth profile is essentially the same then that would suggest that the volume of Lake Albert is 336,000ML. It would most likely be a bit less.
The wetland in the far South West of Lake Albert (at the bend in the Narrung Road) is only 1800 metres from the Coorong. An open channel of only 4m2 cross section, with a drop of 50cm, will flow at the rate of 5 cubic metres a second, or 432ML a day. That 157,680ML a year would produce a complete exchange of Lake Albert’s water every two years and would be sufficient to maintain salinity levels that are only slightly above those of river flows. Between 130,000ML and 158,000ML would also flow through the Narrung channel to replace net evaporation, depending on which estimate is used. (ie, 8ML/ha or 9.75ML/ha)
That channel, running beside an existing road right of way, would also deliver water of similar freshness half way along the Coorong’s North Lagoon. And if that outflow is properly directed to the South East along the Northern shore with a small breakwater it could produce a cyclical flow to The Narrows and back along the Southern shore. That flow volume would replace North Lagoon annual evaporative loss of 56,200ML and produce a complete exchange of water volume (86,400ML) every 11 months.
More importantly, it would produce an additional proper estuarine exchange of fresh and sea water at the back of the North Lagoon instead just one at the front of it at Tauwitcherie.
Clearly, salinity in Lake Albert cannot be managed independently of Lake Alexandrina but that is no excuse for failing to take measures that could produce major improvements in its management. There is already an annual inflow into Lake Albert of approximately half its volume to replace evaporation losses. The diversion of a similar small portion of existing barrage outflows to a new gated outflow from Lake Albert will put a stop to its current unhelpful role as a source of additional salinity in Lake Alexandrina.
There is no longer any justification for using large volumes of valuable fresh water, and inefficiently so, to keep the Murray mouth open when the direct introduction of sea water via pipes under the dunes can do it cheaper, more reliably, more efficiently and in direct proportion to its need.
The concerns of the Ngarinjerri over excavation of ancestral burial grounds can be addressed, well within existing budgets for water buy-backs etc, by tunneling beneath the relevant strata. And those concerns would not hold validity in areas adjacent to the Murray mouth due to the substantial natural disturbance that has been associated with significant movement in the location of the mouth over the past century.
The conclusions drawn from the modeling conducted by Heneker (2010) are not a valid basis for determining appropriate end of system flows because the contribution of reasonable and practical steps to increase the ecological efficiency of flows have not been considered.
The ecological efficiency of flows, and the values that depend on those flows, in Lake Alexandrina, Lake Albert and the Coorong’s North Lagoon, can be significantly improved by way of a very modest 1.8km channel of 4m2 cross section allowing direct discharge from Lake Albert into the Coorong. This will change the lake from a highly problematic closed ended system to a carefully managed open ended system.
Any savings from the reduced need for, or improved ecological efficiency of, end of system fresh water flows should be kept in existing or additional storage, firstly, for the purpose of extending the duration of flows into what would normally be zero flow events. There is not the slightest doubt that improved efficiency of end of system flows can ensure zero flows go from 1 in 10 year to 1 in 20 year events and substantially diminish the severity of them.
Any surplus savings from improved efficiency of end of system flows should be distributed equally between economic, social and ecological values in accordance with sustainability principles.
The reliance of any submission, or the reliance of any formal input of material to the planning for Murray River end of system flows, that relies on the Heneker modeling, or any other modeling that fails to consider reasonable and practical steps to improve the ecological efficiency of such flows, renders that submission or input invalid.
And the first duty of the MDBA is to ensure that no further development of the MDBA Plan takes place until the full range of alternatives are properly examined and costed.
I advise accordingly.
Secretary, the Landholders Institute
07 3893 0612
http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2011/12/has-it-worked So much flow and so little to show.
http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/Conservation/Rivers_wetlands/Coorong_Lower_Lakes_Murray_Mouth/Lower_Lakes_Coorong_recovery_plan See appendix.
Heneker, T.M. (2010/5) “Development Of Flow Regimes To Manage Water Quality In The Lower Lakes, South Australia”, South Australian Department for Water, Murray–Darling Basin Division. (note the MDBA still have no links for this critical document almost 2 years after non-publication.
Peter R. Smith OAM- Mannum says
Firstly I have read the second submission from Ian.
Re, “However Peter, neither of them pretend that those Lakes and that area are not heavily influenced by its coastal position” I agree that approximately 20% of recoded history is marine, I always have.
I also totally agree with, “This submission calls into question the very need for large volumes of additional water as claimed by the proposed plan. My submission to the Guide to the Plan, dated 24th March 2011, and included again in this submission as an attachment, examined a number of options for maintaining an open Murray mouth without the use of more than 3 million megalitres of fresh water flows through the mouth.”
I have discussed the option of pipes and believe the option must be put on the table my only other comment re is idea is that the ‘Ngarrindjeri’ will totally oppose any digging.
Re, “The conversion of such systems to appropriate passive cyclical flows through the use of similar pipes under the dunes is the only management alternative that is capable of being 100% effective in restoring the full suite of ecological values to such systems” not under but over as supported by the Ngarrindjeri and the planning has been done.
I am happy to discuss the above with the indigenous population.
The entrance between Lakes Alexandrina and Albert must be reinstated to as it was prior to the 1960’s then the excuse, “And this then provides an excuse to conclude that “It is not practical to manage salinity levels within Lake Albert independently” will be no longer.
This is 100% correct, “South Australia, and the MDBA, have a fundamental obligation to take reasonable and practical steps to fix a local problem before making a huge and disruptive call on the rest of the country. And in relation to Lake Albert they have done no such thing” and we have been fighting this for many years.
Re, “The wetland in the far South West of Lake Albert (at the bend in the Narrung Road) is only 1800 metres from the Coorong. An open channel of only 4m2 cross section, with a drop of 50cm, will flow at the rate of 5 cubic metres a second, or 432ML a day. That 157,680ML a year would produce a complete exchange of Lake Albert’s water every two years and would be sufficient to maintain salinity levels that are only slightly above those of river flows. Between 130,000ML and 158,000ML would also flow through the Narrung channel to replace net evaporation, depending on which estimate is used. (ie, 8ML/ha or 9.75ML/ha)” we have been seeking a study into this but to no avail.
I agree with what is in the submission and am 100% sure a suitable outcome can be arrived at without removal of the Barrages as Ian has not called for!
🙂 🙂 🙂
Then you may have to cease the doom and gloom prophecies Peter and stop pretending that salt water is a contaminant.
Otherwise you don’t agree with the ‘spirit’ of the Mott submission.
I will also point out that the Water Act and chapter 6 of the legislative instrument produced by the MDBA would not recognise clever innovations and engineering solutions.
Regardless of good ideas….and there are many of them…..2750GL is still going to be ‘acquired’ from productive/consumptive use upstream. That HAS NOT and WILL NOT encourage genuine attempts to achieve practical, workable outcomes.
It appears instead that you are jumping with joy that there is a disagreement between Jennifer and Ian.
I have always said that if SA wants to keep the barrages, that is SA’s choice.
It must be done with a win/win mindset and a focus on practical and achievable outcomes.
At the very least however, some very serious work needs to be done on re engineering the management of the LRM. The recent drought has proved that it is NOT sustainable to attempt to maintian the status quo.
As my daughter has said recently in her short submision to the MDBA:
“There is absolutely no reason to take water away from productive areas such as the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area when you can acquire the extra water needed for the environment through engineering solutions.
The Federal Government has a huge budget to play with to help fix the Murray Darling Basin. Instead of diving into the water market – which means more water would flow down the Murray but small towns would be crushed – why not build better infrastructure for everyone? This would send the required amount of water onto wetlands and out the Murray mouth, keep agricultural production up and also quell national panic about water security during times of drought.
I ask that the MDBA create a plan that’s win-win.
If you want to keep the Murray mouth open nine years out of ten, make sure that regional communities are viable nine years out of ten as well. Don’t sacrifice one for the other.”
That pretty well sums it up don’t you think?
Repeated doom and gloom prophecies about ‘dead seas’ and contaminating sea water etc and parochial comments about which areas are the ‘most efficient’ has done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to get any of us anywhere close to reaching a sensible outcome.
What SA has to realise is that the Murray river is NOT a high pressurised pipe that can be switched on and off from the bottom. We all know that there are problems there but they WILL NOT be solved by throwing more and more water at it!
Jen is entirely correct that the ‘environmental’ stance re those lower lakes is duplicitous and adversarial in the extreme.
I would prefer ALL sensible referenced solutions be put on the table and then we can have the real discussion and solve the real problems.
That includes Dr Jennifer Marohasy’s work Peter.
“Mother Nature” has also kindly given us the time to have a proper robust discussion rather than the ‘knee jerk’ political panic that we are all being subjected to at the moment.
Ian Thomson says
Hi Peter ,
You repeatedly refer, (as does the SA Govt), to the terrible destruction that Barrage removal would bring to SA. On another front , you all talk of the damage done to you by “extractions”.
Right now there is some serious extracting being done, for the very reason that the big weirs were built.-To save us and you from very wet bums.
Yesterday morning 2 inches of non predicted rain fell on the Lachlan , just downstream from Booligal.
You may get that anyway.
This morning ,some more non predicted storms were sitting over Hume and Dartmouth .
( Hume is in the high 70s percent and Dartmouth 82 ).
So a lot of that unused water is going to be yours soon.
If it keeps raining, you may get a real reality check, as the difference between 82 and 100 pc is not a good gamble.
We are all going to pay, so far, $1billion per year in fixed charges for your water, even if you do not need it.
In the meantime, the bill goes up and up -when all that money could be spent providing you with a reliable, wholesale priced, water supply.( Via pipe ,weir,or whatever. Lets face it, we have BILLIONS to spend, we could afford to truck the stuff from Alaska ! )
Then we can remove the barrages.
If they were not needed,why were they built ? Had you South Australians so degraded the estuary that it needed flushing from a new source?
And how come there are no mulloway at Morgan now ?
Peter R. Smith OAM- Mannum says
I AM NOT a doom and gloom preacher and salt water is a contaminant. The pipes Ian is talking about are to keep the mouth open!
The 2007 Water Act is in my opinion one of the worst pieced of legislation, ever!
The 2750- Gigalitres is a joke also and if buy backs come from WILLING sellers why is that so bad?
I am the first to agree that, “some very serious work needs to be done on re engineering the management of the LRM.” Also if the, “status quo” I am not complaining.
Re your daughter’s submission, I agree.
Re, “Jen is entirely correct that the ‘environmental’ stance re those lower lakes is duplicitous and adversarial in the extreme” sorry I don’t agree.
Re, “I would prefer ALL sensible referenced solutions be put on the table and then we can have the real discussion and solve the real problems” so would I.
And re, “That includes Dr Jennifer Marohasy’s work Peter. “Mother Nature” has also kindly given us the time to have a proper robust discussion rather than the ‘knee jerk’ political panic that we are all being subjected to at the moment” we have engineered “Mother Nature” out of the Basin accept for the rain.
Removing the Barrages will cause, “terrible destruction” and I am not blaming anyone but Governments for any problems within the Basin.
You must be joking, “Right now there is some serious extracting being done, for the very reason that the big weirs were built.- To save us and you from very wet bums” the dams, and weirs were built to better manage and conserve water for human, stock and irrigation needs. If the dams and weirs had not been built we would not have floods.
We may get some of that water if it isn’t saved where possible but we rarely get water from the Lachlan.
Re, “This morning, some more non predicted storms were sitting over Hume and Dartmouth. (Hume is in the high 70s percent and Dartmouth 82) So a lot of that unused water is going to be yours soon. As Hume is 85% & Dartmouth 87% some will flow down the River that is what the dams and weirs were built for!
We won’t get as you put it, “you may get a real reality check” as flows are being managed so SA won’t get over bank flows.
Yes of course we all pay!
Your rant, “In the meantime, the bill goes up and up -when all that money could be spent providing you with a reliable, wholesale priced, water supply.( Via pipe ,weir, or whatever. Let’s face it, we have BILLIONS to spend, we could afford to truck the stuff from Alaska!)” followed by “Then we can remove the barrages” that is your opinion but IT IS WRONG the Barrages STAY.
You obviously DON”T understand the LRM as to the reason for constructing the Barrages has been explained many times but if want to hear it again just let me know.
Re, “Had you South Australians so degraded the estuary that it needed flushing from a new source?” that bit of crap I fail to understand and “And how come there are no mulloway at Morgan now?’ BACAUSE of the Barrages the LRM is freshwater!
You need to define what you think ‘buy back’ means. Buy back from what? Buy back for what? How is that entitlement going to be accounted for? What makes you think that water entitlement would somehow magically end up in the river?
You also need to define what you think is a ‘willing seller’. I can assure you that apart from a few ‘opportunist’ water traders and a few genuine retirees, the bulk of the sellers were ‘desperate sellers’. You do realise don’t you that well over 2000GL of water entitlement has appeared in the CEWH account? Where is it Peter? What are the benefits to the environment, productive uses or the LRM?
The ‘environmentalist’ claims have indeed created adversary and parochialism Peter. SA went looking for a ‘quick cheap fix’ and it has since proved to be a poor decision. They essentially bought up empty air space for ‘the environment’ when water was seperated from the land. It appears there is water available in the models but SA has since discovered that is not correct in reality.
Have a look at this one.
How’s that dead and dying river going?
You still don’t seem to understand that the Murray River is NOT a high pressurised pipe that can be swiched on and off like a tap at the bottom.
Unless some major engineering works are undertaken, your proposal is not sustainable and will require the sacrifice of ‘one for the other’.
Instead of your dire warnings about some of the consequences, how about you put all of the engineering solutions on the table and allow a proper ‘cross border’ debate to be undertaken?
Allowing the Commonwealth Govt to be the largest water holder in the system has NOT achieved good outcomes for anyone….INCLUDING SA!!!!!!
Peter R. Smith OAM- Mannum says
I know what buy back means and am well aware that ‘willing sellers’ are mostly created by circumstances and when sellers are created it more often not leaves ‘stranded assets.’ I know many who have sold their water and land, taken the State Government relocation grant but have walked away with debts up to a couple of million dollars.
The SA Government didn’t go out buying licenses. SA Water purchased some 30-Gigalitres off the Lower River Murray irrigated swamps.
Re, “How’s that dead and dying river going?” that is not one of my sayings!
Yes I know, “You still don’t seem to understand that the Murray River is NOT a high pressurised pipe that can be switched on and off like a tap at the bottom” so please don’t patronise me.
I 100% agree there are some major engineering works that must be done throughout the MDB and the Barrages need a total upgrade not removal, and I don’t agree my proposal is ‘not sustainable.’
Also I totally agree, “all of the engineering solutions on the table and allow a proper ‘cross border’ debate to be undertaken.”
I will stop patronising you when you stop patronising the parochial, environmental based politics.
You have most definitely loudly stated on many occaisions that the river is dying from ‘the bottom up’….and that it is the fault of ‘greedy and un Australian eastern states’ (or variations thereof)
You have also claimed on previous occaisions that the whole system should be managed from the bottom.
SA most definitely bought up sleeper licences in the late 90’s and early 00’s as a cheap fix to a looming water storage/security problem which has since proved to be a very expensive and poor decision.
The licences from the LRM irrigated swamps is another issue entirely.
I might also ask: if you want to see the LRM swamps re instated, where do you propose that water should come from considering the SA Govt supposedly bought the entitlements??????????
You have also outlined what is wrong with the “buyback from willing sellers” rhetoric although stating in an earlier post that there was no harm in it.
So who is patronising whom Peter?
Peter R. Smith OAM- Mannum says
Truth IF the River Murray dies IT WILL BE from the bottom up!
Truth THE SYSTEM CAN BE managed from the bottom!
Re, “SA most definitely bought up sleeper licences in the late 90′s and early 00′s as a cheap fix to a looming water storage/security problem which has since proved to be a very expensive and poor decision” I will have to follow that up!
And yes I want to see the LRM irrigated swamps to once again be a vibrant production area and as to that end and if that were possible the land owners will have to purchase water licenses.
I made enemies of many from the LRM irrigated swamps when I was extremely vocal against their selling their water as those licences were given not paid for!
I have always and will always be against any licenses given by State Governments being sold ever!
I HAVE ALWAYS felt that willing sellers are victims of the climate at the time but if it is their choice to sell so be it and I know it strands assets and we can see that along especially the LRM and also above Lock 1 but it happens and none of us can in most cases stop it!
IF? ? ?
But it isn’t is it?
It can’t be managed from the bottom Peter. You obviously are not a water manager.
We can have goals for the bottom, but that is a different matter.
Attempting to manage from the bottom only wastes water on either a macro or a micro scale.
Your arguments re the LRM swamps do not make sense.
You certainly didn’t answer the question I asked.
While I think you understand the issue on a surface level your comments here are very locally focused and you don’t seem to understand this issue on a basin wide scale, or what has caused it.
Maybe when you do your follow up re sleeper licences you may gain a better understanding?
Peter R. Smith OAM- Mannum says
The question I didn’t answer do you mean this one, “I might also ask: if you want to see the LRM swamps re instated, where do you propose that water should come from considering the SA Govt supposedly bought the entitlements?” and if so I did answer it, “And yes I want to see the LRM irrigated swamps to once again be a vibrant production area and as to that end and if that were possible the land owners will have to purchase water licenses” that is the answer. Why shouldn’t the LRM irrigated swamps be once again amongst the leading milk producing areas in Australia?
I thought you would understand ‘stranded assets’ as there must be ‘stranded assets’ in your area but if not let me know!
If the farmers thought it was worthwhile and it had long term benefits, they would go ahead and do it.
You seem to falsely believe that ‘buying licences’ would guarrantee the type of water security that enterprises like dairy farming would require to successfully operate.
SA cannot guarrantee that type of security because we have recently learnt that the Murray River is NOT a high pressure pipe that can be switched on and off at the bottom.
SA should also have learnt that ‘buying licences’ is not a ‘quick fix’ for the problems that have developed there.
You didn’t answer my question because you’re assuming that there is actually secure water attached to those licences.
There isn’t, especially in SA.
Owning entitlement is a bureaucratic exercise to ‘account’ for cost recovery. It does not necessarily translate into ‘real water’.
Is it wise to re instate dairies after what we have learned? Maybe a better solution is annual cropping/farming that can more easily work with highly variable availabilty? Maybe not? Ultimately it would need to be the decision of the actual producers.
As far as stranded assets go, you are not understanding the basin wide implications of that problem.
You understand from a local perspective and you are correct that similar problems have developed elsewhere.
It is a much, much bigger issue than you are indicating as there are places and communities and projects that have been funded by the Australian tax payer for long term production security. Those projects have taken the variables into account. The current agenda is unable to deal with that issue because, as we both agree, the legislation and the terms of reference are woefully inadequate.
The political agenda is attempting to solve the wrong problem, which is now a non problem.
There is no way our storage and irrigation networks can assist or manage our natural ephemeral wetland environments.
They were not in any particular trouble as the spectacular return to plenty has proved.
If we want to start managing or controlling that from our regulatory systems, we have to do way, way more regulatory work.
Peter R. Smith OAM- Mannum says
Re, “If the farmers thought it was worthwhile and it had long term benefits, they would go ahead and do it” yes of course and that is why many people are investigating the options now.
Re, “You seem to falsely believe that ‘buying licences’ would guarrantee the type of water security that enterprises like dairy farming would require to successfully operate” what a load of crap I know what the problems are and also a license doesn’t guarantee water.
Thank you for reminding me once again, “the Murray River is NOT a high pressure pipe that can be switched on and off at the bottom.”
Re, “SA should also have learnt that ‘buying licences’is not a ‘quick fix’ for the problems that have developed there” I understand that thank you.
Re, “You didn’t answer my question because you’re assuming that there is actually secure water attached to those licences” once again what a load of crap, of course I understand that there is no guaranteed security of delivery.
By, “There isn’t, especially in SA” do you mean we will get ours and stuff you!
Maybe it isn’t, “Is it wise to re instate dairies after what we have learned” but all options for that land must be explored as the land still has to be stopped from degrading and cracking and collapsing.
As I have said before you don’t understand the LRM that particular land is hard black soil only good for certain uses.
Re, “As far as stranded assets go, you are not understanding the basin wide implications of that problem” like bloody hell I’m not as I travel the Basin as much as possible and see the millions of dollars of stranded assets and can’t imagine the thousands of hours put in by people on the land to just pack up and leave and I have been working with people in this situation for over a decade.
And it is not, “a much, much bigger issue than you are indicating” I have counseled people throughout the Basin over that more than a decade.
I agree, “There is no way our storage and irrigation networks can assist or manage our natural ephemeral wetland environments. They were not in any particular trouble as the spectacular return to plenty has proved” but do you propose we do nothing because if you are SA will be the winner accept under severe drought conditions!
BUT DO YOU PROPOSE WE DO NOTHING???????
You must be kidding?????????
hahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Your comprehension skills are now very seriously under question!!!!!
As if any post of mine and just about everyone else here has EVER EVER proposed we do nothing!!!!!!
NOTHING ABOUT WHAT IN PARTICULAR?????????? THE EPHEMERAL ENVIRONMENT??????????
hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
If nothing else you have just managed to make me laugh very very very loudly.
This discussion is over.
Your assumptions and your attempts to just score silly pedantic points are parochial and adversarial and counter productive in the extreme….as well as being very funny.
All you can manage to say is CRAP!…… I I I I I I …..ME ME ME ME…..MY SA MY SA MY SA……
You most obviously cannot accept that many of us so called greedy and ignorant (that means we don’t understand) eastern state producers do actually care very deeply that all affected productive communities in the ENTIRE basin should be able to have the cross border debate that will create sensible, sustainable and practical win/win solutions.
Peter Smith OAM Mannum seems to think he is the only person in the whole wide world that understands and cares and if everyone doesn’t listen to him and just him….we’ll all be rooned…said hanrahan!
hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
I’m deeply sorry that is an unkind response…. but Peter Smith OAM – Mannum…… you seriously need to get a grip and wake up!
Alan Herath says
Have been in the bush for a week and missed all the “fun”, and now seek to stir the pidgeons a bit myself.
1. I think it needs to be made clear that the Barrages are part of the historical River Murray Commission and now MDBA system and it is they who have to answer for the Lower Lakes and have been very shy about this over the years. And all the relevant States and the Commonwealth were participants in the Commission. But good on us for raising these matters because whatever additional amount of water is made available for the environment in average flow years or perhaps short droughts it will not be available in a severe drought.
2.As I previously suggested (see my 26th March comment on Jen’s Honest Politician Needed etc—contribution), the Lower Lakes issue can be separated from interstate equity issues.
3. In my view, debate based on parochialism or on accusations thereof are non arguements. Debate based on relevant factual information is justified. (See my 3 comments on the MDBA Plan, no. 3 yet to appear on their website).
4. IF!! water has been over allocated then those who made these decisions need to be held accountable and should be required to pay or somehow compensate for their sins. This should be the faceless Govt agencies and their Govts who along with the MDBA have hidden behind their communities until the last few weeks, having effectively transferred the debate and inflamed communities in the process.
5. Maybe I have not read the proposed Plan thoroughly enough at this stage as I need to know what the 2750Gl or whatever no. is appropriate is needed throughout the system eg if x Gl is needed to rejuvenate wetlands in Vict and NSW then if this water ends up at the SA Border without being consumed subsequently in those States does this make up part of what is argued to be required for the Lower Lakes ie what part of 2750 Gl to the bottom of the MDBA system is needed anyway for environmental needs in Vict and NSW? And how does this relate to the MDBA transmission Gl figure at the SA Border?
6 The debate over the Lower Lakes can then be more appropriately debated regarding Mundoo Barrage removal or more flexible operation thereof. This debate needs to take place involving a wider consideration of drought intensity. Hydrologic modelling can show the probability and range of expected drought intensity which would cover short period droughts, and long sequences like the very infrequent drought we have just experienced. Realistically we cannot expect water to be available for other than critical human needs in such a drought and it is time that information is presented showing the frequency and attenuation of the “magic” figure of 2750Gl or whatever is going to be available over the years within various severities of drought, and start doing some serious and open discussion on how this is going to be managed thru the whole system. This may also help take some heat out of the Lower Lakes debate.
7. If the environmental needs are so CRITICAL (and I’m not making that case), Govts could in the extreme compulsorily resume water licences, and land for waterways like they do in metropolitan areas when land is needed to build or widen freeways. Short of going to that extreme, buying up water licences from willing sellers and seeking waterway easements has been occuring. A BETTER OVERALL SOLUTION COULD BE TO REQUIRE THAT TRANSFER OF CONSUMPTIVE WATER LICENCES SHOULD GO ONLY DOWNSTREAM — nowhere downstream in particular, just downstream either intrastate or interstate. This would keep more water instream and thru wetlands for longer stretches of the system and could reduce the need for Commonwealth Govt environmental buy backs.
Peter R. Smith OAM- Mannum says
Good bye Debbie,
Re, No 1. You are correct that is why the payment for maintaining the Barrages and the Weirs and other River infrastructure is shared between the main Basin States – NSW – 38%, Victoria – 35%, South Australia – 27%.
Re, No 2. That would probably be a good idea.
Re, No 3. Correct.
Re, No 4. 00% is the Governments who made the decisions who must be held accountable.
Re, No 5. I don’t think no matter how many times you read the plan will you gain the information you seek and as the 2750-Gigalitres is for the entire Basin who knows? I suppose what is not used/consumed/able to be held in storages will as is the case now will continue to flow out through the Barrages. But of course what will happen during the next drought is any body’s guess.
Re, No 6. I agree some, “open discussion on how this is going to be managed thru the whole system” and all options on the table.
Re, No 7. As of now ‘environmental needs’ are not a requirement as Debbie puts it the environment has recovered and is thriving. The problem with ‘willing sellers’ is most times they are ‘willing sellers’ by necessity.
Re, “keep more water in stream and thru wetlands for longer stretches of the system and could reduce the need for Commonwealth Govt environmental buy backs” Mike Young has always pointed out in times of low inflows keep the water in the Rivers.
I read your submissions to the MDBA.
It was good to see some level headed analysis of the situation and also your willingness to spot the real culprit which is of course the enactment of poor policy and then the even worse implementation by a succession of govts, State and Federal.
Your point about instream is also valid and of course that was exactly what was done during the depth of the drought and one of the main reasons why the southern MDB did not have empty rivers.
Unfortunately, this knee jerk stuff we are being subjected to at present is attempting to solve the wrong problem and is intending to use the wrong resources to do it.
Storing ‘environmental water’ when the environment clearly doesn’t need it will not solve the problems we have in years of low flows and drought.
Any good ‘downstream’ ideas are mostly rejected out of hand which is rather odd as that is clearly the water that has been over allocated.
As you point out it looks like there is a lack of accountability.
Unfortunately Alan, your question about the way the 2750GL will be acquired and accounted for in upstream vs downstream environmental outcomes is answered in chapter 6 and you will not like the answer.
2750 GL will still be taken from consumptive use for end of system flows, regardless of how many good ideas are implented.
Peter R. Smith OAM- Mannum says
Re, “Any good ‘downstream’ ideas are mostly rejected out of hand which is rather odd as that is clearly the water that has been over allocated” now you are blaming downstream of over allocation what a joke try to be fair.
Try downstream of the storages & purpose built areas and it might make sense.
Ian Thomson says
Your statements that the upstream storages were built for diversion of water is true, but symptomatic of the fairyland beliefs of many South Australians is the lack of knowledge about what is being diverted and from where. Not to mention your blind faith in someone’s ability to ‘manage’ water so no SA overbank flows occur.
The point I was trying to make, was that recently large post drought floods have been avoided throughout the southern parts of the system- thanks to the foresight and experience of those who made these diversions possible. BUT, like the bucket on your kitchen floor catching the leak from a hole in the roof, under extreme circumstances it all may overflow.
You probably do not know that some major tributaries are unregulated -( eg Ovens and King ).
If the major storages are at capacity and we get a spring rain dump, with a big thaw, you can ‘manage’ it all you like. Good luck with the rowing.
Eildon is also full incidentally . Just imagine if the 22 inches which recently fell near Ivanhoe NSW were to land in the southern catchment, when these storages are already full.
It did not miss by much.
You’re outlining one of the glaring inconsistencies in this whole process.
There is NO PLAN to deal with the opposite side of the coin.
In fact the plan is to just dump stored water on top of flooding events in a vain attempt to imitate an ‘airy fairy’ long term average event.
The silliest part is that the storages were not designed to do that and are in fact physically incapable of re creating a ‘long term average’ flooding event.
Peter…just to supplement….downstream does not mean just SA….downstream means below the storages and the purpose built irrigation networks linked to those storages.
The NSW State govt is just as gulity of ‘over allocating’ unregulated flow as the SA state Govt.
The drought has just highlighted their duplicity.
That is why we need a proper cross border discussion amongst all the affected communities.
So please….stop trying to pretend that I have it in for SA communities and irrigators….I don’t!
Your duplicitous State Govt and the bi polar rhetoric from the ACF et al is another matter entirely.
Whether you like it or not….and it is geographically impossible to change it….SA is downstream!
If your Govt will not get off the ‘us or them’ mindset….then SA’s geographical position is going to be an even larger problem for SA.
As Ian points out here….it can also be the opposite problem as well as the one we are discussing at the moment.
Alan Herath says
I think the accounting for and determination of when and where the environmental flows will occur is in Chapter 7 but my question was “How much of the environmental flow that is said to be required for the Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth will have already been returned to the River for similar wetland needs in Vict and NSW”? ie another way to understand my question is that the same environmental water can be “reused” for several wetlands along its journey down the river. Also what portion (if any) of the transmission water at the SA border that is required to carry the consumptive requirement along the river is also to be used for the SA environment including the Lower Lakes? My brain is failing me on finding and/or understanding these matters.
On relooking at chapters 6 & 7 I don’t think we’ll get an answer on this until all the SDL regions complete their environmental watering plans to enable an overview summary can to be presented. Sort of begs the question though on how did the MDBA arrive at an environmental flow requirement?
On another matter I am surprised at your comment to Ian that “SA is just as guilty as NSW on over allocating unregulated flow”. Please advise your source for this statement as I strongly disagree with it, as you may have already noted from my second submission to the MDBA.
Peter R. Smith OAM- Mannum says
I am also surprised by that comment, “SA is just as guilty as NSW on over allocating unregulated flow” and await your answer!