STAWELL - The pressure to constantly be the source of water for environmental releases into the Wimmera River system appeares to have been taken off Lake Lonsdale.
Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water has announced plans to commence releasing water into the system from Lake Bellfield, which is close to full capacity.
This will greatly reduce the pressure on Lonsdale, which would normally have water released at this time of year and transferred to Taylors Lake near Horsham.
GWM Water managing director, Mark Williams, said the organisation was taking advantage of spring conditions and healthy levels in most reservoirs to improve water quality and availability.
The authority has commenced transferring 5000 megalitres of water from an almost-full Lake Bellfield into Taylors Lake to help improve water quality. Taylors Lake, the backup supply source for the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline, has poor water quality compared to other reservoirs supplying the pipeline.
"The water transfers are part of a system-wide plan to balance consumptive, recreation and environmental water needs across the region," Mr WIlliams said.
He said the transfers, which would be via waterways and transfer channels, would be finished before the end of October to minimise loss of water due to seepage and evaporation.
Mr Williams said Lake Bellfield, currently 95% full, was the main water supply source for the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline, with Taylors Lake being a backup supply.
"Transferring water from Lake Bellfield will help improve water quality in Taylors, in case it is needed to supply the pipeline," Mr Williams said.
"At the moment Lake Lonsdale, together with Rocklands Reservoir and Lake Wartook, is providing environmental releases. The current supply situation means we can use other options to meet the environmental needs of the Wimmera River system, taking some of the demand off Lake Lonsdale."
Lonsdale is currently at 51% of capacity, holding 26,980 megalitres in storage against a full supply capacity of 65,480 megalitres.
Constructed in 1903, Lake Lonsdale has a current inflow of 170 megalitres per day after rainfall over the past 24 hours of seven millimetres.
GWMWater is also investigating transferring a further 5,000 megalitres of water into Taylors Lake from Rocklands Reservoir as another water quality improvement action.
Mr Williams said GWMWater will work with key stakeholders about the needs of Green Lake near Horsham if this transfer went ahead.
"This transfer would provide an opportunity to further improve the water quality in Taylors Lake while at the same time providing a top up for Green Lake," Mr Williams said.
"We are working closely with key stakeholders to ascertain the needs of the lake and if they want to tap into this opportunity as the water travels past on its way to Taylors."
Toolondo Reservoir is currently at reasonable levels but may also benefit from the transfer. A supply is dependent on the amount of water available for transfer from Rocklands.
Mr Williams said GWMWater would continue to work closely with all regional stakeholders to ensure water management decisions provided the best possible outcomes for the broader community.