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.