Bellfield release assists Lake Lonsdale

STAWELL - The Lake Lonsdale Action Group welcomed GWMWater's announcement that it would release water from Lake Bellfield into the Wimmera River system.

However, the group concedes more needs to be done to take further pressure off Lake Lonsdale being a constant source of water for environmental releases.

GWMWater's two week window to run water out of Lake Bellfield has now finished, with about 5,000 megalitres released from the Grampians reservoir.

Kerry Martin from the Lake Lonsdale Action Group said the Lake Bellfield announcement was a positive result for the group.

"We have pushed for this since the Lake Lonsdale Action Group started and the whole town has got behind it," she said.

"I think it is unfair Lonsdale is the one that has always been targeted to release water from and I have said for a long time they don't want to let Bellfield get too full anyway. I don't see why this couldn't have happened months ago."

At the end of September water began being transferred from Lake Bellfield into Taylors Lake near Horsham, which is a back up source for the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline.

Ms Martin said the Lake Lonsdale Action Group hopes the decision is a sign of things to come and will lead to other lakes being used to support environmental flows, which would mean less of a dependency on Lake Lonsdale.

"We have had a lot of meetings with GWMWater, Wimmera Catchment Authority and the Office of Water, it is a slow process but we are getting somewhere," she said.

"It is just a matter of time and we won't give up until we get Lonsdale to something that everyone can appreciate. It is important from the tourism side for Stawell too. Last year I was out there every Saturday meeting visitors."

Lake Bellfield, is currently 95 per cent full and is the main water supply source for the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline, while Taylors Lake is a backup supply.

Lonsdale is currently at 51 per cent of capacity, holding 26,980 megalitres in storage against a full supply capacity of 65,480 megalitres.

GWMWater is also investigating transferring a further 5,000 megalitres of water into Taylors Lake from Rocklands Reservoir as another water quality improvement action.

Lake Lonsdale Action Group vice president Ray Howard the lake would undergo more water releases in the coming weeks, but was confident it won't affect the busy summer period.

"They have already said they will take more out of Lonsdale by the end of the month or even in November," he said.

"Depending on rain up to 10,000 megalitres may come out in the next six months.

"We are still in talks with them and they are aware of the recreational value over Chirstmas.

"On current rain predictions there will be enough rain to continue recreational activity until the end of January, but we need the rain to come. It has been a pretty dry winter and spring season.

Last year Lake Lonsdale proved to be a popular destination last summer and is expect to again attract a number of tourists this year.

GWMWater are also in the process of establishing a management board for Lake Lonsdale, which is expected to be announced before the summer holiday period.

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