Water pipeline to secure lake's future
Published: 01 Apr 2021 12:48pm
Lake Albert’s long-term water security was guaranteed this week when Wagga Wagga City Council and the NSW Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a Special Purpose Access water licence.
The significant outcome after a long period of negotiations with the Minister for Water Melinda Pavey, who was in Wagga Wagga on Wednesday to announce the agreement, means Council can now move forward with a plan to design and build a pipeline from the Murrumbidgee River to the lake.
Mayor of the City of Wagga Wagga Cr Greg Conkey OAM said 31 March 2021 would be remembered as a historic day in the city – a day which secured the future of a facility which provides enormous economic and lifestyle benefits to residents and visitors alike.
He also confirmed Council has made a submission to the Federal Government seeking initial funding for the pipeline.
Additional funding has also been sought for further improvements specific to the lake precinct such as shoreline remediation, upgrades to the weir system and various other improvement works.
“It is a great day for Wagga Wagga,” Cr Conkey said.
“The agreement provides certainty for the lake’s water security – the only way we were going to get that certainty is from the river. We can no longer rely on rainfall because of drought and changes to the catchment over a number of years.”
Cr Conkey recognised the efforts of Minister Pavey and her staff, the support of State and Federal government representatives, Councillors and also Council staff, particularly General Manager Peter Thompson, who led negotiations with the Minister.
Ms Pavey also recognised Council’s “attention to detail” in its submission and she committed to providing Wagga Wagga with the opportunity to secure the lake’s future.
“Wagga Wagga is a great community. A city this size deserves a lake – a recreational showpiece,” Ms Pavey said.
Cr Conkey said the agreement is the result of more than 12 months of advocacy and strategy.
“In general terms, we are transferring five gigalitres of our water to the Government for the river and in return Wagga Wagga City Council will have authority to draw 1.8 gigalitres of water from the river to store in the lake,” he said.
Water access will be restricted between the months of October and March.