The honourable [name of minister or senator]
As you are well aware, the Lower Lakes of South Australia are in crisis and have been for some time. The freshwater regime for the Lower Lakes is unsustainable given the lack of fresh water flowing down the River Murray. I am writing you to ask that the government open the Goolwa Barrages and let seawater in to the Lower Lakes.
The Goolwa Barrages are keeping oxygenated seawater out of the Lower Lakes environment. While these barrages were useful when they were built back in the 1940’s for irrigation and transportation, they are now causing an ecological and socio-economic disaster for the townships of Goolwa, Clayton, Milang, Narrung, and Meningie. I am very concerned that the insistence of a freshwater regime for the Lower Lakes which includes untested bioremediation techniques is making the problem worse. The bioremediation has never been successful before in the world on such a vast scale, and the cost of failure of these trials is too high.
There is scientific and historic proof that the area was once an estuary that connected with the Coorong, so seawater is hardly the ‘disaster’ that many portray it to be. There is an environmental case to be made to return the Lower Lakes to their ‘pre-barrages’ state and restore the estuarine fishery that was once so plentiful.
The crisis happening now in the Lower Lakes can be decoupled from the other issues with the River Murray. Buying back water licences, changing crops, modifying water delivery systems, can all continue, and should continue. An estuarine system also needs freshwater from the River Murray, just less of it than the current ‘freshwater only’ regime.
The vocal local groups who espouse a ‘freshwater only’ viewpoint neither represent me, nor the majority of the community. In my opinion, they are ignoring the realities of the situation and are blind to the seawater option. Please visit the web site www.lakesneedwater.org for more information.