No time for experiments, 22 June 2009
No time for Lower Lakes experiments; prepare to open the barrages
South Australia' s Lower Lakes residents are concerned that the recent aerial liming experiments over Currency Creek and the River Finniss are diverting attention from the pressing issue facing the Lower Lakes, which is the urgent need to restore water levels.
An independent poll conducted by community group Lakes Need Water reveals that South Australians are overwhelmingly in support of letting seawater into the Lower Lakes with 80% polled in favour of opening the Barrages.
Water levels in Lake Alexandrina are now 1.7 metres below the full supply level and almost 1 metre below sea level. If water levels drop a further 60cm, which is predicted by February 2010, tens of thousands of hectares of acid sulphate soils will be exposed and become subject to acidification.
The South Australian Department for Environment and Heritage (DEH) states in its press release of June 15 that initial remediation attempts were "too slow to deal with the scale of the problem we are now facing”. The dumping of fine limestone by crop dusters, or "aerial liming" as it is known, is still highly experimental. The shallow and confined waters of Currency Creek and the River Finniss are not representative of the large expanses of Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert.
A significant majority of South Australians, 69% polled, are also in favour of building the proposed temporary weir at Pomanda Island near Wellington. There is also strong support outside of South Australia for opening the barrages at 75% although support for building the temporary weir is much lower at 44% of those polled.
The Lower Lakes have always had a mix of seawater and freshwater over the course of their history, when river flows were low. A reminder of this is Chenopodianceae, known as samphire, a member of the upper inter-tidal succulent plant species that grows on the shorelines of Lake Alexandrina.
"Scientists know this and the community accepts it. So why are we delaying the inevitable?"
Lakes Need Water Opinion Poll results:
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org