Assertions that Murray River flows should be sufficient to keep open the Murray Mouth are a physical impossibility, Wakool River Association representative John Lolicato says.
He dismissed statements from the scientists issuing the ‘‘Murray Declaration’’ who argued that the Murray Mouth should be kept open ‘‘90 per cent of the time’’ using freshwater flows.
Mr Lolicato acknowledged realistic changes were needed to develop a workable plan, however he said they did not revolve around the ‘just add water’ approach which had been adopted by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and others who were calling for more water.
‘‘The authority knows that an original objective to keep the Murray Mouth open at least 90 per cent of the time cannot physically be achieved with a freshwater solution. This was proved during the 2016 floods,’’ he said.
Mr Lolicato said after the 2016 flood peak, the lower Murray returned to its usual state, proving that a high Murray Mouth flow could not be maintained.
‘‘It’s time the MDBA came clean and clearly acknowledged this indisputable fact,’’ Mr Lolicato said.
He said there were statements from the MDBA that showed it knew there was a problem in relation to unrealistic expectations around keeping the Murray Mouth open without dredging.
‘‘Proposals for river flows of 60000 to 80000Ml a day at the South Australian border cannot be consistently achieved due to the many constraints along the major rivers and tributaries and major flooding that would be created.
‘‘The MDBA knows this, but has failed to publicly acknowledge it. I suspect it learned a few things from the 2016 floods but is reluctant to say so, as this would mean admitting that their proposed environmental flood flows cannot achieve all the desired environmental outcomes.
‘‘Landholders with vast experience of the river systems have been telling the MDBA since 2013 that their flow objectives are unattainable under the legislative requirement of no adverse social and economic impacts, but they have been reluctant to listen,’’ Mr Lolicato said.