“Kevin Rudd, Penny Wong, Mike Rann and Karlene Maywald must either release emergency flows for the Lower Lakes or tell South Australians in clear and simple terms why they can’t,” Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
Senator Birmingham joined Independent Senator Nick Xenophon at a forum hosted by the Alexandrina Council in Goolwa today where they backed calls by the Council for the immediate release of 250 gigalitres of water from upstream storages.
“The future of both the ecology and the economy of the Lower Lakes regions demands immediate action,” Senator Birmingham said. 
“It should be above politics and requires us to cross political boundaries to achieve real results. People of all political persuasions want to know why emergency measures weren’t even discussed by First Ministers at COAG last week.”
Senator Birmingham said that every drop across Murray-Darling Basin storages needed to be accounted for, to either provide for emergency flows or explain why they can’t be delivered.
Latest Murray-Darling Basin Commission data indicates that:
·         Menindee Lakes are holding approximately 550 gigalitres (www.mdbc.gov.au/rmw/river_information_centre/menindee_lakes_storage);
·         Dartmouth Dam is holding more than 600 gigalitres (www.mdbc.gov.au/rmw/river_information_centre/dartmouth_reservoir);
·         Hume Reservoir is holding approximately 500 gigalitres (www.mdbc.gov.au/rmw/river_information_centre/hume_reservoir); and
·         Lake Victoria is holding approximately 300 gigalitres (www.mdbc.gov.au/rmw/river_information_centre/lake_victoria).
“Reported data shows there are significant holdings across the Basin, in addition to those held by Cubbie Station and other major irrigators,” Senator Birmingham said.
“If governments are serious about trying to save the Lower Lakes and the Ramsar-listed Coorong region then the words need to stop flowing and the water needs to start flowing.

“The situation in the Lower Murray has deteriorated badly since John Howard released his plan eighteen months ago. The best thought out long term plans will now be pointless if urgent action is not taken, because there will be nothing left to plan for.”