Pine Hut Creek potentially flows into Lake Moodie from the eastern escarpment of the Mount Lofty Ranges due west of the Cambrai-Sedan Road.
On visiting the lake site in July this year I was surprised and disappointed to see no water whatsoever in the lake.
Local knowledge informed me that Lake Moodie no longer fills regularly as it once did but only after a significant water event. I was told that it did not fill in 2016 after record breaking rains so one wonders what a significant water event would need to be to fill the Lake again.
I first visited Lake Moodie in May 1975 and was surprised and delighted then to see the lake almost full of water with many water birds and other birds occupying the site.
On my visit this year I was pleased to see the work that had been done by the Mid-Murray LAP Committee to provide public access to the site with information displays on the animal and plant life and history of the Lake with a photo showing it full of water in October 1992.
A check of the Pine Hut Creek watercourse using Google Earth shows the following potential obstructions to its flow:
- Lake Moodie Road: On site observation shows a very shallow depression on both sides of the road near the railway embankment cutting. The wire fence across the cutting has been reinforced with steel girders probably to avoid damage from floating debris in the past.
- Old railway embankment: On site observation shows that there is a broken down concrete easement through the embankment so one could assume that this was built to allow the watercourse to flow through.
- Farming activities on the property directly opposite the Lake site: Google Earth shows contour ploughing along and through the watercourse particularly just west of the old railway; along the edges of the farm outbuildings; and west of the farm house. In contrast the other properties further west along Pine Hut Creek appear to have made a particular effort to leave a significant margin between their cropping activities and the wandering boundaries of the water course.
- Pine Hut Road: Where the creek crosses Pine Hut road just west of Lake Moodie Road there is a concrete spillway across the road and the creek bed and banks look quite healthy in comparison to the area adjacent to Lake Moodie Road. There is no apparent obstruction there.
- Main Cambrai-Sedan Road: This road has a significant bridge crossing over Pine Hut Creek which looks wide and deep although dry but with much vegetation growing in the creek environs. There is no obstruction there. (There are no creek name signposts).
- Schmidt Road: A concrete spillway here. No apparent obstruction.
- Gerschwitz Road: A concrete spillway here. No apparent obstruction.
- Pine Hut Road west of Gerschwitz Road. A concrete spillway here. No apparent obstruction.
- The main obstruction to the free flow of Pine Hut Creek appears to be on the property just west of Lake Moodie Road where the creek bed has disappeared along with all vegetation between the road and the farm house. Beyond the farm house there are occasional trees marking the route of the watercourse and Google Earth shows signs of ploughing through and along the old creek line.
- Are the provisions of the SA Natural Resources Land Management Act 2004 in relation to water affecting activities being enforced so as to protect Pine Hut Creek watercourse from stock incursion, and/or ploughing and cropping activities? In particular has the landowner immediately west of Lake Moodie road been reminded of his responsibilities under the Act?
- Has the watercourse been dammed at any point?
- Are there any bores pumping water from the aquifer beneath or adjacent to the watercourse? And if so, have they been approved and are they equipped with water meters?
- Has there been any significant alteration to the land surfaces that drain into the creek, particularly on the escarpment itself?
- What can be done to ensure that water does flow into and through Pine Hut Creek to Lake Moodie if and when future significant rain events occur?