Murray River – End of the Line

Living in South Australia we are seeing daily the effects of the slow moving flooding of the Murray River as it starts to swallow up river front properties and threaten businesses that are too close to the rising river.

It has now reached a level not seen since the mid-70s and there is a lot more water to come down through the system still.

We’ve been watching daily news reports and especially the photos that show the scale of this event and not quite believing what we’re seeing.

Some of the ferries that move transport across the river have closed and others are likely to close as the waters rise, and sadly it has affected some of the riverside caravan parks that have had to close for public safety.

Goolwa is the end of the river system and here, a series of barrages are used to control the amount of water coming down the river. When there isn’t enough water coming down the gates in the barrages are used to reduce or completely stop the flow of water out to the sea. They also prevent the ingress of salt water from the sea, so that the freshness of the water is maintained.

Alternatively, when flows are high, gates are opened and water can flow over the barrages and into the Coorong. At the moment, all gates in the barrage system are open.

The Goolwa channel barrage takes approximately 70% of the river flow and it’s predicted that the gates will mostly remain open for the next few months. Government departments monitoring the situation have said that more favourable tidal conditions in December and January, in combination with the Murray Mouth widening, should see the discharging of floodwater without too many issues to the lower lakes and Coorong area.

What has changed dramatically is the access to the Murray Mouth from Goolwa Beach. Normally you can drive along Goolwa Beach for around 10 kilometres to the mouth which you can clearly see as you drive from the beach side and around to the river side of the peninsula.

We were completely surprised recently though, to find that at the end of the beach part of the drive, there was no driving around to the riverside, with the water completely overtaking the sand.

Along with all the extra, dirty water coming down the river, which you can clearly see in the changing colour of the sea water, it’s also bringing a whole lot of dead carp, which will probably be a good thing for the river.

Other more bizarre things are unfortunately also washing out to sea at the mouth, including rubbish and sadly we found a kangaroo carcass on the beach too.

It will be interesting to see what long term effects the flooded river will have on this end of the river.

To be continued…


2 thoughts on “Murray River – End of the Line

    1. I’m astounded daily at the photos I’m seeing. Hopefully the bottom end and Coorong will be ok, but I must admit I think the flow predictions will still go up and areas impacted more than they are willing to admit yet. 🥺


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