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June 8, 2009

Whilst plugging away at the River Murray project I remembered travelling around to the location where Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert join when I stayed at Poltalloch Station. The location is called The Narrung Narrows and it had an old ferry, a disused lighthouse and ruined shepherd cottages.

I remembered Point Malcolm as an interesting space-- one where clouds, cliffs and sea meet:

nearby the narrows.jpg Gary Sauer-Thompson, near The Narrows, 2009

I had taken a few photos with a Lecia at the time. That was before the beginning of the transition to new, lower limits on water use in the Murray-Darling. I had wanted to return and explore the location now that the lower lakes were shrinking. The Narrows now had a wall and a pumping station to pump water into Lake Albert, so as to keep it from drying out, and exposing the sulphuric acid soil to the surface.

I figured that Point Malcolm would be a good location to see how much both lakes had changed as a result of insufficient freshwater in the Murray-Darling Basin to support the sufficient environmental flows to the Lower Lakes.

pumps the narrows.jpg Gary Sauer-Thompson, pumps, The Narrows, 2009

My judgement is that the Lakes need water. As the freshwater is not available--- due to overallocation of irrigation licences, resistance of state governments to water buyback and trading, drought and climate change – this only leaves the seawater option. Coastal lakes are simply a better option than dry, dead lake beds.

Though Rudd has vowed to spend $3.1billion on irrigation licences in the hope of repairing the river system to help Adelaide's water supply crisis and save the Lower Lakes in South Australia, there is not enough water in Lake Alexandrina to continue to pump water into Lake Albert to keep the surface covered.

What is the next step for Lake Albert? Bioremediation?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:39 PM | | Comments (3)


Some say that there though is universal agreement that a mismanaged and over-allocated irrigation diversion regime upstream must be fixed, they go on to say that catchment inflows will return to ‘normal’ after the drought this will be the ongoing issue.

The issue is that catchment inflows will not return to ‘normal’ after the drought. There is still the problem of overallocation of water licences, and that of climate change--less rain, hotter temperatures and less runoff to the rivers.

they won't be able to continue pumping freshwater in Lake Albert for much longer. The future is one of reduced inflows and so less water for irrigation.

The pumping will stop a the end of June 2009. That ends any chance of Meningie (the gateway to the Coorong) as a holiday retreat.

The option of filling Lake Albert is still off the political agenda and so that means another long dry summer.