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14, October 2010

The Australian Environment Foundation today called for innovative thinking to help restore confidence in the future of the Murray Darling Basin by discussing the benefits of removing the barrages at the Lower Lakes.

Former chair of the AEF, biologist Dr Jennifer Marohasy said “It is difficult to believe the claims in the Basin Guide released last week that the solution to all the problems of the Murray Darling Basin lies in taking more water from communities.”

“It will be of limited value to the environment to buyback between 3000 and 7600 gigalitres of water for the Lower Lakes and the Murray mouth while the massive steel barrages effectively block ninety per cent of the natural flows to the Southern Ocean.

The least worst scenario for communities in the Basin Guide allocates 2000 of the 3000 gigalitres returned to the environment to Murray River outflows, thereby propping up a man-made artificial environment created 70 years ago with the construction of the barrages.  This will be achieved at the expense of upstream natural environments, communities and food production.

“All of the discussion on improving the health of the basin has focused on a reallocation of water rather than the alleged benefits of keeping the Lower Lakes a freshwater system. 

“Remove the barrages and return the lakes to their natural estuarine state for the sake of the environment in the whole basin” said Dr Marohasy.

The health of the Murray and the basin will be a feature of a presentation to the AEF annual conference in Brisbane this weekend.  Dr Marohasy will detail the natural environment of the Lower Lakes prior to the construction of the barrages and dispel some of the myths about the health of the Murray in her presentation to the conference.

The Murray: A fresh perspective 

More details of the conference can be found at  www.aefweb.info 

- ENDS –

Media Contact: Dr Jennifer Marohasy 0418 873 222      Max Rheese 0428 621320

The Australian Environment Foundation (AEF) is a not-for-profit, membership-based environment organisation having no political affiliation.  The AEF is a different kind of environment group, caring for both Australia & Australians.  Many of our members are practical environmentalists – people who actively use and also care for the environment.  We accept that environmental protection and sustainable resource use are generally compatible. For more information about the AEF visit www.aefweb.info


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