5MU Interview

Selected comments from Ken Jury when interviewed by 5MU’s Chris Lewis on 23/6/09

Chris: Good morning Ken, were you surprised at the results of the recent poll by lakesneedwater.org, how 69% agreed on a temporary weir.

Ken: I may have been more surprised 12 months ago, but in recent times, actions in the region, were more than enough not to be surprised – lets not muck around and lets get on with fixing the problem.

Chris: The weir.

Ken: The weir must be built before we let the sea in – to protect Adelaide’s water supplies. The entire region is really in a crisis situation with a growing problem of acidity. It is a crisis heading towards being

catastrophic, particularly since we had some rain – the Currency Creek has turned orange- the signs are not good!

We have sulphuric acid equal to what is found in your car battery. Test results are as bad as ph1.5, to 2.5 and in recent days within the same area were at about ph3.

Chris: What would happen if the barrages were open and seawater came in where we mix seawater with freshwater – errr! There would have to be obvious issues there of concern to the community though- wouldn’t there?

Ken: Chris, no that’s a furphy. Have you been down on the Coorong lately? Isn’t it magnificent?

Chris: Yeh!! I was down there-err! a couple of months ago. I love it!

Ken: While the lower Coorong has problems, why would it be any different if we let the sea in to the Goolwa side where the biota would gradually return, as we’ve known it pre-barrages. In other words when looking at the upper Coorong today, why would it be different on the Goolwa side, and in the lakes, and

in front of Goolwa and so on?

Chris: Well you’re the expert. But isn’t time running out.

Ken: Yes it is. That’s the problem- we need to do something serious instead of tampering around the edges. Trials of seeds and lime etc are just that. We have the best weather authorities telling us that another El Nino is on the way. We’ve had at least two bad previous summers – we have the remaining lake water being sucked dry at anywhere up to 800 gigalitres in a summer period. We cannot keep putting water in the lakes for that to happen. We just don’t have that water!

Chris: Mmmm!! Too many community meetings but I mean, if you have been kept abreast while most –errm! I’m hearing stories from around Meningie who haven’t really been kept up to date whereas those in Goolwa and Clayton have been kept up to date, but as I said, time is running out.

Ken: 18 months ago we said that the weir must go in because we cannot do anything else until we do. Here it is, we still haven’t got the weir.

Chris: So you are in favour of the weir.

Ken: Absolutely, there is nothing else – I mean there are many who would like a fresh result or perhaps we all would have some time ago but we have to be realistic about this. The fact is, we do not have enough water. The country is going through its worst drought in history – the best scientific minds (the worlds best) are saying that we are going to receive more of what we’ve had before and that we shouldn’t expect any of

what remains to come down. South Australia has its human critical needs tucked away – at least for the next 12 months but there is nothing else. There’s hardly anything for the environment at all and so we have got to protect this section – all we are going to do is to put it back to what it was pre-barrages.

It will return to roughly what it was when Captain Sturt came down the system, and if you want a comparison, there’s a good one when looking at the Peel-Harvey estuary at Mandurah in W.A.

The W.A. Government, in consultation with the people, built the Dawsville Channel and flooded the Peel-Harvey estuary with water from the Indian Ocean causing a doubling of the commercial fishery that was almost decimated before. This area is now WA’s largest tourism area and the fishery doubled

its capacity. For goodness sake- we can have those results down here in our areas too!