Concerned local residents have launched the Lakes Need Water website (http://www.lakesneedwater.org) to bring balanced debate to the critical issue of South Australia's disappearing Lower Lakes.
They say that seawater is the realistic alternative and indeed a natural choice for the Lower Lakes given their long estuarine history.
"The lakes have always had a mix of seawater and freshwater over the course of their history, when flows were low," says spokesperson Trevor Harden.
"If we truly had a choice, of course everyone would prefer freshwater but if it is a choice between no water and seawater, then seawater is the right choice for the Lower Lakes."
The "Lakes Need Water" group believes that the Lower Lakes issue has become a political football, making it difficult to present clear and balanced, scientific views.
"Strident criticisms of temporary weirs and the use of seawater have outweighed commonsense," Mr Harden says. "It is obvious that the barrages, the biggest weirs of them all, are keeping water levels low and preventing nature from taking its course.
"Opening the barrages would let seawater mix with existing freshwater to create a healthy estuarine environment and give the Lakes a go. Keeping the barrages closed will kill the Lakes, with vast expanses of corrosive windblown sand already evident.”
Mr Harden adds that much of what community ‘action groups’ have been saying about the value of the Lower Lakes and Coorong wetlands is not disputed.
"We all value this unique environment and deplore its destruction. It comes back to whether there really is enough freshwater available to make a difference to the Lakes - water that is being withheld by the State and Federal governments.
"If there is no such water available - and catchment inflow data suggests there isn't - and the scientists and government advisors are right, then groups demanding freshwater are clearly asking for the impossible.
"It is simply untrue that no water is better than seawater or that nature will fix the problem -- seawater has been nature's response to low river flows for thousands of years and it is needed now."
For more information:
Phone (08) 8121 8035 - Mobile 0414 69 70 71
Lakes Need Water
www.LakesNeedWater.org is dedicated to explaining why the Lower Lakes of the Murray River (Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert) need water now. It addresses misinformation about the ecological crisis confronting the Lower Lakes as water levels decline precipitously. This web site aims to be different, preferring science, rational thought and logical conclusions.
Fact: The Lower Lakes lose 1 million megalitres of freshwater each year
Disconnecting the Lower Lakes from the ocean has produced an annual requirement for 1 million megalitres of freshwater to replace evaporative losses, which could instead be refilled by seawater.
Fact: The Lower Lakes are in decline
Even before the current crisis, the ecology of the Lower Lakes and the Coorong has been suffering for decades, with loss of habitat, decline of native fish species, and invasive species, such as carp.
Fact: Any water is better than no water
Corrosive dust storms are happening now, just as disastrous as salinity and acidification.
Fact: Seawater is a natural part of the Lower Lakes
The Lower Lakes have been partly salty for at least 6000 years before the barrages were built. The ecosystem of the Lakes has benefited from these seawater inflows.
Fact: Time is running out
Scientists predict that within one year water levels will fall to minus1.5m AHD exposing acid sulphate soils in Lake Alexandrina. The dust storms are already happening.
P: (08) 8121 8035