Water

Plan used ‘false science’: report

By Country News

The recent release of a scientific report presents a ‘‘once in a lifetime’’ opportunity to rectify some political wrongs, according to Speak Up.

Peer-reviewed research conducted by Professor Peter Gell and released by the CSIRO claims that South Australia’s Lower Lakes were historically estuarine.

The Lower Lakes have been a contentious part of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and have been maintained as freshwater lakes.

Speak Up chair Shelley Scoullar labelled the research a ‘‘game-changer’’.

‘‘Governments can no longer ignore this indisputable fact that we have an estuarine system, but for purely political reasons a basin plan was devised around false claims that it was a freshwater system,’’ Mrs Scoullar said.

‘‘What has been done is mischievous and has caused massive, unnecessary hardship to family farmers and rural communities.

‘‘We cannot change the past, but we can fix the plan, so it is better positioned to help us build a stronger, more sustainable future.’’

Mrs Scoullar said the basin plan must be changed to reflect the new findings.

‘‘(The Federal Government) have cold, hard facts before them, which show we do not need to be pouring huge quantities of water down the rivers to sustain a freshwater system,’’ she said.

‘‘As Professor Gell has proven, it’s not a freshwater system at all; it’s traditionally estuarine.

‘‘So we must now alter the plan, which was developed under false scientific assumptions that we all know were designed to fit a political agenda.

‘‘This needs to occur before there is any further damage to our world-class food and fibre producers, and more importantly the environment, which is being decimated by authorities who have tried to push too much water down a fragile system.’’

The research is at odds with a 2009 report to the South Australian Government, which stated ‘‘there is no evidence in the 7000-year record of substantial marine incursions into Lake Alexandrina’’.