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Latest MDBA plan a waste of time and money

29, May 2012

The latest MDBA plan released this week is an embarrassing waste of time and money when communities are looking for a plan for the future said the Australian Environment Foundation.

“The revised plan continues with the flawed premise that the Authority can find enough fresh water in the basin to keep an estuarine coastal lagoon at the end of the Murray River fresh for most of the time” said Max Rheese, executive director of the Australian Environment Foundation.

“What makes the Lower Lakes at the end of the Murray River so different from the hundreds of other coastal estuaries around Australia that no-one attempts to keep as freshwater? Answer: South Australian politics.

“Why should thousands of communities throughout the basin and important upstream environmental sites have to suffer unwarranted fixed cuts to water allocations – even in good years – because of foolish promises made by politicians years ago, to keep a salty coastal lagoon fresh?”

The MDBA has expended $230 million over several years to present a plan that has been rejected by the basin state governments, community groups and farming organisations.

“It beggars belief that the Authority is defying its own historical data, which shows the coastal lagoon they are trying to keep fresh, Lake Alexandrina, was far saltier than the revised plan’s target salt level as recent as a couple of years before the completion of the barrages.”

The Foundation commissioned a report by biologist Dr Jennifer Marohasy demonstrating the estuarine history of the coastal lagoon now known as Lake Alexandrina. The report was sent to all politicians to assist with informed discussion based on environmental science.

“This whole process has degenerated into political argy-bargy driven by green groups who want to maintain an estuarine coastal lagoon as an artificial freshwater lake to force the shut-down of irrigated agriculture in the Murray Darling basin” said Mr Rheese.


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