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Sally and Colin Grundy: Murray River, Mundoo Island Station Jetty

Sally and Colin Grundy: Murray River, Mundoo Island Station Jetty

Bottle number: 72

About the water

A colour photo of Sally Grundy showing where the normal river level is.
Sally Grundy showing where the normal river level is.

Collected at: Murray River, Mundoo Island Station Jetty, Holmes Creek,
South Australia

E: 138° 55 538, S: 35° 32 400

View location on Google map

Collected by: Sally and Colin Grundy

4 generations of the Grundy family living on and farming Mundoo Island.

Water quality:

pH: 8
Salinity: 11,000 EC units

The Murray Darling Basin is dying.

ACT Waterwatch says:

This is heartbreaking - the salinity here is appalling. The long and the short of this is quantity. We need as a country to recognise that we are NOT using water at a sustainable level. People like these landholders are only the first to suffer.

Without significant changes in all our behaviour, this is our future, and it's pitiful.

Mundoo Island Station Jetty. Holmes Creek, Murray River, South Australia.
Mundoo Island Station Jetty. Holmes Creek, Murray River, South Australia.

About the site

We are 4th generation owners of Mundoo Island and currently run a beef cattle station. We are the last farming property on the River Murray. In the late 1800s Mundoo Island was operated as a sheep station but changed to cattle after the barrages were constructed because the sheep ingested snails and died from liver fluke – as a result of the permanent fresh water and snails moving down the river.

Due to the lack of water at the moment at the end of the River Murray we have many problems. We are faced with issues of no stock or domestic water, acid sulphate soils, tubeworm colonisation due to salt water leaking back under the barrages, loss of calves due to salty water, reduced carrying capacity because we cannot stock certain islands due to no river water surrounding them – they are sand locked islands and massive environmental changes affecting flora and fauna.

We currently have studies being undertaken on our property with sites containing Southern Pygmy Perch, Murray Hardyhead and Southern Bell Frogs.

We have noticed changes such as more snakes, bees and foxes scavenging during the day. We have also had deer and kangaroos on Mundoo Island that can now cross the water courses because the water has dried up completely or are very shallow.

Our website: www.mundooisland.com.au explains more.

The actual site where we collected the water sample is our jetty where paddle steamers once moored to collect the wool bales, barley and oats from our station. One photo I have my hand showing where the River Murray level normally is.

The site is our usual pumping site for stock and domestic water. The water has been unsuitable for stock and domestic use for nearly 3 years due to high salinity.

Holmes Creek drying up. Mundoo Island, Murray River, South Australia.
Holmes Creek drying up. Mundoo Island, Murray River, South Australia.
Mundoo Island Station Jetty. Holmes Creek, Murray River, South Australia.
Mundoo Island Station Jetty. Holmes Creek, Murray River, South Australia.

What's going on:

Tortoises dying from bristleworm colonisation. The water level keeps lowering and may expose acid sulphate soils. No boating traffic because Holmes Creek is too shallow now. This summer it will dry up significantly more. Some natural bioremediation is occurring. Salinity levels have reduced slightly from winter rains but will increase again over summer. This is normally a fresh water environment.

We are monitoring the salinity levels, rescuing tortoises dying from bristleworm colonisation, clearing up rubbish that has been thrown into the river from boats over the years and is now exposed.