26 December, 2023

Striving for security of recreational water

The Yarriambiack Shire Council is advocating to protect the long-term security of recreational water for the lakes and weir pools within the shire.

By Contributed

The Yarriambiack Shire Council is advocating to protect the long-term security of recreational water for the lakes and weir pools within the shire.

Completed in 2010, the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline was one of the largest water infrastructure projects in Australia, replacing 17,500 kilometres of channels with 9159 kilometres of rural pipeline.

The aim of the pipeline was to drought-proof the region and provide water security across an area that provides a third of Victoria’s grain crops, a fifth of its lambs, pig, sheep and wool and almost 10 per cent of its eggs.

At the time of lobbying, the community strongly articulated it was imperative for 12 strategically located recreational lakes across the region be allocated with at least 3000-4000 megalitres of high security water supply, like that of domestic and stock water.

Both the federal and state governments endorsed the scheme for the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline.

However, this promise did not come to fruition when the Wimmera Glenelg Bulk Entitlements were issued in 2010.

Yarriambiack Shire Council Mayor Cr Kylie Zanker said at the December meeting council had moved the recommendation to write to the relevant ministers advocating for changes to the Wimmera Glenelg Bulk Entitlement.

Cr Zanker said it would provide assurance to the community that recreational water would receive the same high security supply to that of domestic and stock.

“The reliability profile of the recreational entitlement within the Wimmera Glenelg Bulk Entitlement is lower than other Wimmera Mallee Pipeline products,” Cr Zanker said.

“In nine of the last 11 years since 2012-13... GWMWater have had to transfer consumptive water in the recreational water entitlement due to the Wimmera Glenelg entitlement not being reliable.

“Without the transfer by GWMWater the recreational lakes on the WMP would be dry and unusable in most years in the last decade.”

Up until 2022, GWMWater Consumptive Entitlements have supplied 74 per cent of the supply to the recreational lakes since 2012-13, with only 26 per cent coming from Recreational Entitlement allocation.

With large industries such as mining proposed for the region, there are growing concerns that GWMWater may not have the consumptive water allocation to transfer to recreational water entitlement.

“Our recreational lakes and weir pools are vital for Yarriambiack Shire as water bodies promote tourism and visitation to our shire, stimulating the local economy,” Cr Zanker said.

“Water flows in weir pools and lakes enhance water quality for fish, aquatic plants, and systems. It also provides a habitat for fish populations.

“Our communities fought hard for decades to ensure that our communities water supply was secure, and recreational water is a huge part of our lives and the future of our towns.”

Cr Zanker said local and state governments have invested millions of dollars in new facilities, like amenities for camping, repairs on roads and toilets.

“These investments aim to provide regional communities and their families and friends with the necessary infrastructure to enjoy various recreational activities, including fishing, skiing and swimming,” Cr Zanker said.

“The impact and importance of this water allocation cannot be underestimated.

“We will be taking every opportunity to advocate on behalf of our communities in support of their plight to further secure recreational water for our region.”


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