Monday, January 24, 2022

Lake Albert plans still in the pipeline

Wagga Wagga City Council says it is progressing efforts to maintain a permanent water level in Lake Albert.

In March last year, Council and the NSW Government entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which identified a possible solution and its delivery.

Under the MOU, a licence will be issued by the NSW Government to Council to authorise the transfer of water from the Murrumbidgee River to Lake Albert.

The licence will be subject to a range of conditions including how much and when water can be transferred.

The key outcome is that the lake will be “topped up” each winter, which means even in the hottest and driest summers, the lake level will still be relatively high. Whatever losses are experienced through evaporation over summer will be replaced the following winter under the arrangement.

Council General Manager, Peter Thompson said a recent NSW Government Cabinet reshuffle had not affected plans for the pipeline.

“I have reached out to the new Minister for Water, Kevin Anderson and I’m pleased to say it’s business as usual in regards to our plans for Lake Albert and the pipeline,” Mr Thompson said.

“Council thanks the former minister Melinda Pavey for the work she did in getting us to the point where Council had confidence to move forward under the MOU.

“Minister Anderson is supportive of the agreement we have in place.”

Council is working with the Riverina Water County Council to complete the design of the pipeline, but says funding for the project is still yet to be secured.

Sourcing this funding is the focus of funding applications to the State and Federal governments, Mr Thompson confirmed

It’s hoped the pipeline will be completed and functioning in 2022.

“We originally aimed for April this year but that was dependent upon funding.”

“We don’t yet have funding but will continue to pursue our options and our most current submission will be through the latest round of the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund which closes in coming weeks,” Mr Thompson said.

Under the MOU, Council will have authority to draw up to 1.8 gigalitres of water from the river to the lake provided it meets the conditions of the licence which includes when the water is transferred and how much is transferred on any single day.

Water cannot be transferred between the months of October and March and the amount transferred on any day must not exceed the amount of water discharged by Council to the river on that same day.

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