The South Australian Government used a peer review process for its Environmental Water Requirements (EWR) reports and all science that supported its Murray-Darling Basin Plan negotiations.
The research of Fluin et al. (2009) did not inform the South Australian Government’s position on EWRs for the Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth (LLCMM) to inform the development of the Basin Plan.
The South Australian Government’s position on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan was primarily based on an assessment of the environmental water requirements of the LLCMM, based on the Ecological Character Description for the site that describe Australia’s obligations under the Ramsar Convention, and its ecological character at the time of listing (1985). This includes the need to maintain the freshwater ecosystems of Lakes Alexandrina and Albert.
South Australia’s policy position was developed within the current healthy working river context, which accounts for current extractive uses and river regulation across the Basin.
DEW is advised the Fluin et al. (2009) report was entirely consistent with both the conclusions of the Fluin et al (2007) published paper and the original data.
DEW is further advised the slight change in emphasis around the degree of marine incursion in Fluin (2009), outlined in Gell (2019), arose as the researchers had new core data (from the Goolwa Channel). This took the number of cores discussed from two (2007 paper) to three (2009 report). Importantly, because the new core was taken closer to the ocean, it enabled the researchers to gain a greater understanding of which diatoms are associated with the marine environment.
The South Australian Government remains committed to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. A successful Basin Plan will ensure that the environmental needs of the Basin’s rivers, wetlands and floodplains are protected, while sustaining food production and communities throughout the Basin.