Understanding the Social Risks Associated with the Environmental Degradation of the Coorong and Lower Lakes

By Melanie Gale.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The over-allocation and over-use of water in the Murray-Darling Basin has impacted adversely on the environment surrounding the Coorong and Lower Lakes and has caused the system to endure the longest period ever of reduced freshwater inflows and levels. Although the drought has broken and the Murray-Darling Basin has received significant rainfall in the past twelve months, paradoxically State governments are still fighting over water allocations.
This article will explore current data regarding the social and planning implications of the degradation of the Coorong and Lower Lakes. It primarily focuses on the social impacts that will occur if the Coorong and Lower Lakes area is significantly environmentally degraded. Economic and environmental implications will also be explored to provide an understanding of the interdependencies. Interdependencies are complicated by legislative ambiguity about Federal and State legislation and responsibilities for the area, significant proportions of, which are subject to international environmental agreements. Further research is required on the functionality of these communities, which are challenged by significant environmental change and ambiguous responses from Federal and State Governments.
Drawing on Beck’s (2007) risk theory, this paper analyses the adaptive capacity of settlements in the Coorong and Lower Lakes area and how they respond to the stresses and risks caused by environmental degradation.
The Coorong and Lower Lakes environmental state is an issue that requires immediate action by governments and the surrounding community. This article provides a foundation and theoretical structure for further investigative research to be undertaken.

Keywords: Degradation, Social Implications, Interdependencies, Risk, Over-Allocation, Over-Use, Community, Risk Theory

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.227-238. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 746.541KB).

Melanie Gale

Doctoral Student, The Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment, The School of Natural and Built Environments, The University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

I am currently doing my PhD at the University of South Australia on an Australian Government scholarship. My research is on the adaptive capacity of communities to environmental change based on a case study of communities on the Coorong and Lower Lakes in South Australia. I am located in the discipline of Urban and Regional Planning. I am interested in exploring the social, economic and environmental implications of environmental change for communities affected by climate change, the over-allocation of water resources and environmental degradation in the Coorong and Lower Lakes region.


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