Dead fish along the Darling River bank in Menindee, New South Wales, Australia. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation via AP)
Dead fish along the Darling River bank in Menindee, New South Wales, Australia. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation via AP)

Aerators will be used to pump oxygen into Australia’s biggest river system, after the discovery of around 1 million dead fish earlier in the year created public outrage and left authorities scrambling for answers.

New South Wales regional water minister Niall Blair announced on Tuesday that four solar-charged aerators will be installed in the lower Murray-Darling River in an effort to prevent further loss of wildlife.

Blair has admitted that the solution is a “band aid,” and said he was also considering the idea proposed by some experts of relocating vulnerable species of fish until the river system recovers.

“Nothing will stop this fish kill unless we get proper river flows and levels in our dams back to normal,” Blair said. With that part of the country currently experiencing a record breaking heatwave and drought, experts agree that further deaths will be difficult to avoid.

“It’s a combination of the heatwave and drought, combined with the government policy which has taken water away from the river making it more vulnerable to a disaster of this kind,” Australian Laureate Fellow at the University of Queensland Professor John Quiggin said. “The situation is very serious and the steps that can be taken in the short run are very limited. I think we’re going to see more environmental damage.”

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