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Irrigator says water release not enough for Murray mouth

Wendy Collis, Friday August 2, 2013 - 14:28 EST
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The sun rises over the Murray in South Australia. (file) - ABC

In what has been described as "another drink for the Murray-Darling Basin", Federal Water Minister Mark Butler yesterday announced the release yesterday of 300 billion litres - or 300 gigalitres - of Commonwealth environmental water into the Murray system.

The water will be released into the Murray River valley in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia over the next seven months.

Mr Butler believes this release will  help natural assets like the Lower Lakes in South Australia.  

But Sam Dodds, a fifth generation dairy farmer and irrigator based in Meningie, who relies on water from South Australia's Lake Albert, says that this amount is only roughly ten per cent of the Commonwealth environmental water holder's entitlement, and those who rely on flow at the end of the system will still be left thirsty.

"Although it is welcome, and it will certainly be of benefit to the entire system, and certainly when it does get down here into the Lower Lakes, every last little drop helps - but it is only a relatively small amount.

"When we had the breaking of the drought at the end of 2010, 2011, we were having 60 gigalitres a day passing through the barrages at the end of the river system as a result of flooding

"So in other words the sort of flows we were getting at the end of that flood were the equivalent in five days of this 300 gigs, which puts it in some sort of context.

"However, despite those huge flows of about 10,000 gigalitres in 2011 and then again in 2012 (as a result of flooding), Lake Albert's salinity still remained high.

"So if 10,000 gigalitres passing through the Lower Lakes wasn't enough to revitalise Lake Albert, 300 gigalitres is certainly not enough."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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