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Environment Institute Seminar Series 7 Justin Brookes

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Associate Professor Justin Brookes illustrates the challenges facing water resources in South Australia.

Associate Professor Justin Brookes illustrates the challenges facing water resources in South Australia.

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  • 1. Environment Institute Science Seminar Series 2009 Adapting to a drier Australia: The challenges facing water resources Presented by: Assoc. Prof. Justin Brookes
  • 2. Acknowledgements Kane Aldridge Dan Rogers George Ganf David Paton
  • 3. Overview
    • The importance of lakes and rivers
    • Running down of the lower River Murray
    • Dealing with a crisis
    • Investing wisely for the long-term
  • 4. The value is greater than the exploitable resource
    • Conduit for transport of plant growth enhancer to farm
    Pulp stored on stump RIVER FOREST
  • 5. LAKES – The canaries in the landscape
    • Sensitive indicators of catchment modification and climatic conditions
    • Integrate across landscape, hydrology and climate
  • 6. What are our lakes/rivers and wetlands telling us
    • Coorong
    • Lower lakes
    • Main River Channel
    • Chowilla
  • 7.  
  • 8. The realities of the current situation
  • 9.
    • Irrigation agriculture
    • Tourism and fisheries
    • Ramsar-listed wetland
    • Living Murray Icon site
    • Spiritual home of the Ngarrindjeri
    The Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth
  • 10. A region at a cross-road…
    • Reduced Murray inflows
    • Drying of the Lower Lakes
    • Decline in water birds and estuarine fish
    • Siltation of the Murray Mouth
    • Hypersalinisation of the Coorong
    5,000 – 15,000 1990’s 5,000 – 19,000 2000’s 23,000 – 36,000 1980’s 250,000 1960’s # small waders Years D. Paton, U. Adelaide Red-capped plover
  • 11.  
  • 12. Invertebrate Distributions MM NL SL
  • 13. Southern most end
  • 14. Links to food: Black Swan
  • 15. Salinity tolerance
  • 16. Salinity responses
  • 17. CLLAMM ecology Salinity NORTH LAGOON 0 30 60 90 120 150 180 Scenario 1: ‘Do Nothing’ Scenario 2: Minimum Flow Scenario 3: Low Flow Scenario 4: Medium Flood Scenario 5: Large Flood SOUTH LAGOON 0 30 60 90 120 150 180 Scenario 1: ‘Do Nothing’ 1 Scenario 2: Minimum Flow Scenario 3: Low Flow Scenario 4: Medium Flood Scenario 5: Large Flood
  • 18. Pumping options
  • 19. The state of the Lower lakes
    • Limited water
    • Receding shoreline
    • Acid sulfate soils
    • Salinity incursions
    • Invasive species
      • ( Ficopotamus )
    • Loss of habitat
  • 20. Lower Lakes
  • 21.  
  • 22. Ficopotamus
  • 23. Acid sulfate soils
  • 24. Tookayerta Creek Finniss River Currency Creek Point Sturt Pen 6 – Goolwa Channel Project Photo - March 2008 (minus 0.43 m AHD) (A) $11.5 m, 6 wks Laffin Point (F) $3.3 m, 8 wks (F) $2.14 m, 8 wks (C) $13 m, 12 wks (D) $15.5 m, 20 wks (G) $45m, 32 wks (E) $100m, 50 wks Stony Point Clayton Mud Islands Mundoo Is Hindmarsh Is Dunn Lagoon Goat Is Goose Is Rat Is
  • 25. Pomanda Island Weir Plus 0.1 m AHD
  • 26. Lake Albert Strategy
    • Acid mitigation
    • Keep it wet
    • 400-900 ML/day
    Lake Albert Keep it wet 400-900 ML per day Photos: Paul Harvey
  • 27. A future scenario CLLAMM ecology
  • 28. 700km Bloom from Albury to Swan Hill Main River Channel
  • 29. Swan Reach
    • No significant nutrient input for 500km, 6 months
    • 260km upstream from Mouth,
    • -1m AHD
    • Major observations
      • Macrophyte stands establishing as water draws down and clears
      • Phytoplankton productivity low
      • Absence of large zooplankton
        • Dominance by small rotifers
      • Compromised food web
        • Fish underweight, terrestrial subsidies
    Brachionus
  • 30. Propping up ecosystems Chowilla Horseshoe pre- and post-watering. CHOWILLA FLOODPLAIN
  • 31. Environmental watering
    • If we water wetlands without connectivity then we have local benefit only
    • No new carbon to system
    • N,P to fuel river productivity
  • 32.  
  • 33.  
  • 34. Regulator
  • 35. Chowilla 5,655 ha inundated 6000 ML/day 10,000 ML/day +regulator mn Simulate 60,000 ML/day 9559 ha
  • 36. The cost of mismanagement and drought
    • Wellington weir $160 million
    • Clayton weir $26 million
    • Pump water to Lake Albert $14million+
    • Pump out Coorong $15 million
    • Dredging Murray Mouth $32million+
    • Remedial reveg $10 million
    • Chowilla regulator $30 million
    • Pipes to Narrung, Milang $120 million
    • Desalination Plant $1.4billion+
    • (Annual operating cost $108million)
  • 37.
    • Engineering works should be viewed as interim measures for conservation not as permanent solutions to replace flow
  • 38. Setting a flow target and sustainable diversion limits
    • Baseline flow set by downstream target 1850GL entitlement + 500 GL
    • maintain Coorong once salt pumped out
    • floods overlying this
    • Upstream impacts
    • Lakes maintained above 0.5m
    • Mixed river for cyanobacterial control
    • Connectivity main channel and wetlands
    • Chowilla flooded using regulator 1 year in 3
  • 39. An unrealistic ask?
    • 2350 GL baseline against 14000 GL historical
    • 85% of SA water need
    • (212GL potable)
    • 7% of national GDP from SA
    Historical Cotton 7% water – 0.1% GDP Rice 6% water – 0.02% GDP
  • 40. Lakes as canaries in the landscapes
    • The Canary in the coalmine
      • A Short but meaningful life
    • Are we racking up an environmental debt that we can never repay?
    • Act to build sustainable environmental and irrigation systems
      • Facilitate a transition to a drier state
      • Prepare to make tough choices
    • Spending on weirs and pumping to patch a broken system is short-term
    • Address the environmental water problem while it is “still affordable”
      • Supporting any engineering solutions must be a commitment to return freshwater flow in the medium term
  • 41. Environment Institute Science Seminar Series 2009 Shifting species distributions under climate change Presented by: Professor Miguel Araújo Director, BIOCHANGE Lab National Museum of Natural Sciences, Madrid, Spain