STAWELL - Lake Lonsdale Action Group president, Ray Howard, emerged from a meeting last week confident that water will remain in the lake for the busy Easter period.
Mr Howard met with Water Minister Peter Walsh and Sport and Recreation Minister Hugh Delahunty in Horsham last Thursday to air his group's concerns over the continued draining of the lake.
The meeting was also attended by GWM Water chairman Peter Vogels and general manager Mark Williams, Wimmera Catchment Management Authority chair Karen Douglas and chief executive officer David Brennan and both Jim Nolan and Cr Kevin Erwin from the Northern Grampians Shire Council.
Mr Howard said the most pleasing outcome from the meeting was a commitment that no water would be released from Lake Lonsdale at least until after Easter.
"The pipes were expected to be opened again over the Labour Day weekend in March," Mr Howard said.
"However, we have been successful in having that deferred until after the Easter weekend. The authorities will see what rain we have between now and then and have another look at the situation from there."
Mr Howard said he was pleased with the hearing he received, with both Ministers understanding the Action Group's concerns.
"It shows they are listening to us and are genuinely concerned about the situation," he said.
"I made it quite clear that with the completion of the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline, there should be enough water for everyone, but this hasn't been the way things have gone.
"Also with Lonsdale and Lake Fyans too low for recreational boating, I argued that Lake Bellfield should be opened up to restricted boating. I have now put that request in writing to GWM Water."
Mr Howard said the current situation at Lake Lonsdale had highlighted the importance of recreational water to communities such as Stawell.
"We need to continue to highlight the value of recreational water. This relates to the social, environmental and economic value of the water," he said.
"It's a long road and the process has been pretty slow, but at least the wheels are turning and the authorities are aware of our concerns. We will continue down that path of constantly reminding the authorities just how valuable recreational water is."