This article belongs to Australia - Land of the Free? column.
Toxic River Bed
How's this for inept organisation, the part of the river that runs through the states of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia were administered by the state Governments. If the catchment area is considered for the Murray Darling then that extends all the way up to Queensland and is administered by the state.
When state interests override the national interest that spells disaster and the result is the fractured and petty jealousies that a lack of organisation encourages. Recently the Federal Government has injected 10 billion dollars and taken over responsibility for the Murray from New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia.
It is so bad that the lower Lakes Alexandrina and Albert contain in some areas 'monosulfidic black ooze' in the dried out lakebed. This causes rapid oxygen depletion of lake and drainage waters when the ooze is mixed with oxygenated water. There is fear that this toxic water could find its way in the City of Adelaide's (population in excess of 1 million) drinking water.
How the River can look
The once proud river's water may not be suitable for human use soon. How could this happen? Australian Governments are supposed to be enlightened and care about the environment. A series of barrages and dams along the river restricts the flow and stops flooding out from the riverbanks. Time will tell us that much of this interference was detrimental to the river.
I fear it is already too late.
Pictures courtesy of the ABC and CSIRO