From the ABC
A water scientist has told a parliamentary committee in South Australia that parts of the Murray-Darling should be allowed to die to save other parts of the river system.
Professor Mike Young says the best way forward would be to have water flows for the environment controlled by a trust rather than the government.
He says if it does not rain, parts of the river in South Australia which are dying should be let go to ensure the survival of other parts, although he says it would be a horrible decision.
“It’s not to me about just closing off part of the lower lakes,” he said.
“It’s about looking at every backwater, every wetland, every forest throughout the system from top to bottom and having a very careful discussion about which bits we invest in keeping going and which bits we are prepared to let go if it doesn’t rain.”
Professor Young says, if a temporary weir is built at Wellington on the lower Murray to help safeguard water needs for Adelaide, it may not be able to be removed within three years as planned.
He says a flood the size of one in 1956 would be needed to flush the system, fill up the lower lakes and enable the weir’s removal.
“The environmental impact statements that are being prepared at the moment all assume that this problem is going to be solved in three years’ time because there’ll be enough water in the system to enable us to remove the weir,” he said.
“If we remain in the dry regime, and we’ve just had forecasts for another dry winter, I can’t see how we can get the water back in the system in sufficient volumes that we could take out the weir.”