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April 23, 2003

River Murray fiction continues

In this story the fiction that the River Murray is still a river is continued. Terry Plane and Andrew McGarry write:

'A HUGE deposit of sand dumped by a king tide on the western reach of the Murray mouth threatens to close the river this week, in spite of six months of dredging aimed at keeping it open.

South Australian Environment Minister John Hill described the condition of the river mouth as "desperate", and said it looked as though dredging would not keep the mouth open.

"I had a report last week that things were looking good," Mr Hill said.

"Then a king tide pulled a whole lot of sand in and now we're facing blockage again. Things are pretty desperate."'

The impression given is that the river threatens to stop flowing due to the king tide dumping heaps of sand. Well, the river stopped flowing 18 months ago. All that is happening is that the current dredging in the Mouth Mouth inlet is to keep sea water flowing up to the Goolwa barrages and into the Coorong. There is no river to keep flowing since the River Murray has been reduced to a series of irrigation pools. And there is little likelihood of river flows before 2004.

The calls for a decision to be made on increased environmental flows at the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council in October are for flows to return the Murray to being a river. But extra flows means a high cultural change in the river country to treating the river as a river and not as an irrigation channel. That involves clawback of water from irrigators an NSW and Victoria. That involves people changing the way they have previously used water. That then means changes to the way they have traditionally earned a living from using water from the River.

Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at April 23, 2003 11:18 AM


It really was pathetic watching the responses on the 7:30 Report.

Posted by: dj at April 23, 2003 12:29 PM

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