Bills defying logic
You have to wonder when you get a quarterly bill for $154 for water and sewerage for a vacant block of land. Then in the same week you get a quarterly bill for $115 for piped in town gas (instant gas hot water and gas fired oven cook top).
The gas bill is for actual supply of a product to a residence, the water and sewerage is because pipes run through an easement on the block.
It baffles logic.
Numbers on the SA lower lakes
Here are some facts that everyone who lives in Australia should be aware of.
Between 1935 and 1940 the barrages were built to "freshen up the waters of the lower lakes by keeping out sea water in times of low river flows.
They measure 8.3 kilometres in length and there are five of them varying from 263 metres to 3.6 kilometres in length.
The barrages are unique in their design as they have the ability to withstand pressure from either side so that fresh water can be held back from entering the sea and sea water stopped from entering the lakes.
The barrages have reduced the estuarine water bodies to 10 per cent of their original area which has reduced tidal flows considerably, hence the constant need to dredge the mouth of the Murray.
The lower lakes consist of 3 major water bodies Lake Alexandrina (which is the largest) covers 70,000 hectares while Lake Albert and the Coorong cover 40,000 hectares between them giving a total of 110,000 hectares.
The average annual rainfall for the area is approximately 400 millimetres per annum while the lakes sit in the 1400 to 1600 millimetres evaporation band according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
The net total average evaporation from these lakes is in excess of one metre per year. This equates to 1,100 to 1,200 gigalitres per annum
To put this into perspective. This is nearly as much water as the whole rice industry used when one million tonne plus crops were being grown and feeding 40 million people.
In the last three years of the millennium drought the total diversions per annum for irrigation for the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area were a third of this figure of 1,200,000 mega litres (400 gigalitres/ year).
It is astonishing to see how much fresh water is run into these lower lakes to counter this evaporation when sea water did the same job in drought years before the barrages were built.
If the gross farm gate value for produce per megalitre of irrigation water is $500 (and this may be a very conservative figure) then our irrigation industries are missing out on $600 million per year in farm gate income.
With a multiplier flow on effect into the broader community of four to one this equates to $2.4 billion per annum that is lost to the Australian economy and in particular the river communities.
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