Move to pump water from Lake Lonsdale causes public concern

Ray Howard.

Ray Howard.

Wimmera Catchment Management Authority met with Lake Lonsdale Action Group on Monday to discuss a move by GWM Water to remove 200 megalitres from Lake Lonsdale. 

More than 500 worried residents have taken to a Facebook group and voiced their concerns about the decision. 

GWM Water resources manager Andrew Barton said the decision to remove 200 megalitres from Lake Lonsdale is a strategy to balance rising water levels. 

“The last couple of months has seen the lake go from empty to full very quickly,” Mr Barton said. “We have been pumping water out of Lake Lonsdale because it has become too full. We have a maximum operating level at the lake so anything below that level we may store and anything above it we must legally take out or risk the reservoir spilling water.”

Lake Lonsdale is one out of nine reservoirs across the Grampians region.

Its prime purpose is to supply environmental water to the Wimmera river and Mt Williams creek, but it also provides recreational value to the Stawell community.

“Stawell has a long association with the lake and it provides the public with many family friendly activities in the summer.

“But the residents’ concerns suggests there could be a misunderstanding about the regulations we have to follow.”

Lake Lonsdale Action Group committee president Ray Howard said the move to pump water out from the lake was justified. 

“If the water levels are not balanced out then the reservoir could spill resulting in road and farm damage and crop loss,” Mr Howard said.

“At the meeting we discussed the possibility of a community meeting with GWM Water, the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority and Northern Grampians Shire councillors to appease public concern.

“Members of the public deserve to know how and why water has been removed from the lake so everybody is aware of the situation.”

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