Blog Review: Murray River Locks, Weirs and Barrages

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Great read Stephen. I spent the years 2002 until 2010 working in the lower Murray researching the effect of the drought on the associated wetlands and ways to ameloriate or manage these issues. The water situation became so dire that many of the wetlands and lakes were being closed off to the river to decrease evapourative losses e.g. Lake Bonney. At Cobdogla the drying sediments in the disposal basin were emitting noxious gases and the caravan park had to close, for a chemist it was fascinating, one of the gases emitted was methyl bromide, the gas used to treat fruit and vegetables. In the still of the winter pre-dawn, phosphine gas was being generated, this is the gas used to fumigate silos. As well as the usual sulfur gas stinkers, hyrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan and dimethyl sulfide. Couldn't get any funding to take the work further unfortunately. Another weir related problem was the acidification (pH<4) of Bottle Bend Billabong when the Mildura Weir pool was drained for maintenance.
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Reply By: Stephen L (Clare) SA - Thursday, Apr 01, 2021 at 18:00

Thursday, Apr 01, 2021 at 18:00
That would have been so interesting, but try telling that to the upstream water licence holders and those that stole water that claim the water going downstream was being wasted and should all be used for irrigation.

At least you know the problems first hand and the lower lakes suffered greatly during those times, and unfortunately a lot of people in the eastern states were not aware of just how serious the situation was.

The thing that I can not get my head is to this very day, is the Cotton growers claim they have a right to still use massive amounts of water, while the scientists are saying the opposite and more water flows are needed to keep a healthy ecosystem.

Thank you for taking the time to reply.


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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Friday, Apr 02, 2021 at 17:19

Friday, Apr 02, 2021 at 17:19
Stephen, another hat I had was as a member of the scientific panel researching and assessing management options for the lower lakes. Below a critical level predictions indicated that the remaining water would acidify. I had an experiment where I pushed 5000 litre waters tanks into the sediment added water and monitored what happened in the water and in the sediment. Col Grundy of Mundoo Station provided his excavator to push them in after taking a chainsaw to the top and bottom. Who says scientists don't have fun. Below are some photos of the Point Sturt installation and the state of the sediments with the underlying black ooze. At times the water pH was less than 3. 5
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Follow Up By: Stephen L (Clare) SA - Friday, Apr 02, 2021 at 17:51

Friday, Apr 02, 2021 at 17:51
Very interesting Warren, that would have been so interesting.

We do not want to see it get like that again.

Happy Easter
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