Local News

Raising And Lowering Water Levels Has Re-energised Lower Lakes

Lower Lakes spoonbills.jpg

The deliberate lowering and raising of water levels in the Lower Lakes during August has seen a major boost for the environment.

Researchers have found dropping water levels in both Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina, exposing the lake shores and wetlands, has triggered native plant growth, which in turn has attracted more migratory birds to the area and supported the migration of breeding native fish.

Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth Community Advisory Panel acting Chair Neil Shillabeer said water level variability in the Lower Lakes is an important aspect
of water resource management.

“The controlled high water levels in winter supported freshwater environmental water delivery to the Coorong estuary, and encouraged native fish such as pouched lamprey and congolli to migrate and breed, as well as reduce salinity in the River Murray,” Mr Shillabeer said.

Department for Environment and Water (DEW) spokesperson Adrienne Rumbelow said in the 1920s lock and weir structures were built to support development, regulate the flow, and provide stable River Murray water levels.

“But over the years the structures have reduced the river’s seasonal variability and negatively impacted its ecosystems,” Ms Rumbelow said.

“Our controlled lowering and raising of water levels ensures both drying and wetting of fringing wetlands in the Lower Lakes at the right time, to benefit the
local environment.”

Image: Lower Lakes Spoonbills - supplied