After gathering water from 23 river valleys, the Murray empties into Lakes Alexandrina and Albert before making its way to the Coorong and out the Murray Mouth to Encounter Bay in South Australia. The entire Murray‐Darling Basin is upstream. Everything that happens there affects what goes on here. Wind is almost a constant here. Nothing separates this unique piece of Australia from Antarctica and the full brunt of the Southern Ocean.
The River, Lakes and Coorong are part of the traditional lands of the Ngarrindjeri people. These waters provided food and featured in their stories. The Ngarrindjeri people have seen their land and river change. As well as being uniquely affected by changes upstream, the Lower Lakes, Coorong and their fish have been shaped by industries like sheep and cattle grazing, commercial fishing and tourism have all brought new people into the area, with new needs and new ways to catch its fish.
The Lower Lakes and the Coorong once formed one big estuary where fresh and saltwater mixed. The Lakes only became salty during droughts. Now, barrages separate the freshwater from the salt and the Lakes from the Coorong. Flows from upstream have declined so much that in recent years a dredge has been used to keep the Murray Mouth open to the sea.
(Source: Frawley, J., Nichols, S., Goodall, H. and Baker, E. 2011. The Coorong and Lower Lakes: Talking fish, making connections with the rivers of the Murray‐Darling Basin. Murray‐Darling Basin Authority, Canberra.)