The great water divide

By Country News

A comment in a paper prepared by a South Australian academic demonstrates the sensitivity in South Australia to flows in the Murray River.

Upstream states argue that salt interception schemes and changes in land use and drainage have changed the salinity levels since the 1980s when there was widespread forecasts of impending disaster. They also point out that a large portion of the salt load is also generated within South Australia.

‘‘South Australia’s regional submissions to the basin plan need to explain why they are special and should be considered first.

‘‘That is, why the lower reaches of the basin should not continue to be beholden to the upstream states at the bottom of the entrenched political hierarchy of access to water.

‘‘South Australians get access to the poorest quality water that has been used and re-used many times and which carries the accumulated salt and nutrient load from all the tributaries of the Murray and Darling rivers.’’