The River Murray is collapsing
Warning: This post has nothing to do with birds or birding. Since first posting this article one of my regular readers left a comment that spurred me on to add the last few paragraphs.
Many people acknowledge that the River Murray and the Lower Lakes are in desperate trouble. Levels are at the lowest in many decades, the flow is almost non existent and we have little idea of where the much needed water to keep it alive is coming from.
This desperate situation has been brought about by severe drought in the catchment area over the last three (or more) years plus decades of overuse and over allocation to irrigators upstream. The states upstream have almost totally ignored the needs of South Australia.
Something happened yesterday on the river bank right here in my home town of Murray Bridge that is symptomatic of this disaster happening in front of our eyes.
An 80 metre stretch of the river bank suddenly collapsed into the river, taking at least three cars with it. You can read about it and see a photo here. I can’t go down there and take my own photos because the area is now a restricted zone.
The bank collapse was at a local marina. The photo below was taken a few months ago at Swanport Reserve, about a kilometre south of the marina.
Without good, widespread above average rainfall right across the Murray-Darling basin over the next 2 years, plus well above rainfall in the Adelaide Hills this coming winter-spring, I fear Adelaide will run out of water sooner rather than later, possibly next summer. It is that serious from a human viewpoint. Economically many orchardists and dairy farmers are already going to the wall and many more are well on the way.
Beyond that, however, the long term environmental issues are potentially catastrophic – it may have already reached the point of no return. We may well be seeing the early death throes of the river and lower lakes. The implications for the bird life of the whole river system are frightening; they are threatened too.