Monday, June 22nd, 2009
South Australia' s Lower Lakes residents are concerned that the recent aerial liming experiments over Currency Creek and the River Finniss are diverting attention from the pressing issue facing the Lower Lakes, which is the urgent need to restore water levels.

An independent poll conducted by community group Lakes Need Water reveals that South Australians are overwhelmingly in support of letting seawater into the Lower Lakes with 80% polled in favour of opening the Barrages. 
Water levels in Lake Alexandrina are now 1.7 metres below the full supply level and almost 1 metre below sea level. If water levels drop a further 60cm, which is predicted by February 2010, tens of thousands of hectares of acid sulphate soils will be exposed and become subject to acidification.
The South Australian Department for Environment and Heritage (DEH) states in its press release of June 15 that initial remediation attempts were "too slow to deal with the scale of the problem we are now facing”.  The dumping of fine limestone by crop dusters, or "aerial liming" as it is known, is still highly experimental. The shallow and confined waters of Currency Creek and the River Finniss are not representative of the large expanses of Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert.
"The current crisis confronting the Lower Lakes is the largest acid problem anywhere in the world," says Lakes Need Water spokesperson Ken Jury (  "Saturating acid sulphate soils with water is the only proven management method that can be scaled to large areas. Clearly, if there is insufficient freshwater available for this purpose, then seawater must be used. After all, this will only return the system to what it was."
A significant majority of South Australians, 69% polled, are also in favour of building the proposed temporary weir at Pomanda Island near Wellington. There is also strong support outside of South Australia for opening the barrages at 75% although support for building the temporary weir is much lower at 44% of those polled.
"There are clearly valid concerns about further man-made interventions and their impact to the environment,” Mr Jury said. “Nevertheless, South Australians are at 'ground zero' of the River Murray water crisis, and concerns about protecting the State's water supplies weigh very heavily.”
The Lower Lakes have always had a mix of seawater and freshwater over the course of their history, when river flows were low. A reminder of this is Chenopodianceae, known as samphire, a member of the upper inter-tidal succulent plant species that grows on the shorelines of Lake Alexandrina.

"Scientists know this and the community accepts it. So why are we delaying the inevitable?" says Ken Jury.  "The Lakes need water now."
EDITOR'S NOTE:  Lakes Need Water Opinion Poll results:

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Lakes Need Water 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
Ken Jury
P: 0412 450 924


A recent poll reveals that Lower Lakes residents are concerned that the aerial liming experiments over Currency Creek and the River Finniss are diverting attention from the pressing issue facing the region, which is the urgent need to restore water levels



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