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Emergency rescue water needed for the Coorong and lower lakes

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 18 Jun 2008

The Australian Greens today called on Government to act now to save the Coorong and lower lakes.

"Unless 450GL of water can be delivered to the Coorong and lower lakes through winter and spring these ecosystems will hit a crucial tipping point beyond which acidity problems will be out of control and the runaway collapse of these ecosystems is almost certain," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

Scientists have given the Commonwealth and Murray Darling Basin Governments six months to save the Coorong, and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert. We need to move quickly on an emergency rescue package in time.

"This Ramsar listed wetland site is likely to be lost forever unless governments act within this narrow window of opportunity."

"Scientists told the Ministerial council of this six month window of opportunity in May - but it seems they cannot even get it together to meet until November, when this window might have slammed shut forever," she said.

"Water Minister, Penny Wong needs to secure the release water stored in the Menindee lakes and purchase some of the water in major storages in northern NSW."

"Irrigators should also be encouraged to loan water for the rescue package and could be rewarded for their efforts with extra water in future," she said

"The indicators of ecosystem health are now in the red - the water-birds, fish, frogs, turtles and native plants that make up and rely upon this ecosystem are now all on the line," said Senator Siewert.

"This is a major rescue operation, but unless we act now to secure this water and remediate the exposed acid sulfate lake bed by spring these precious and internationally renown ecosystems will be gone forever," she concluded.

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