Lake water fight

By Country News

Save Lake Eppalock representatives are continuing a campaign to maintain a minimum level of water in the storage.

The lake holds water for irrigators, urban consumers in Bendigo and the environment.

Save Lake Eppalock representative Shell Parker said it was ‘‘a disgrace’’ how empty the lake was.

‘‘I want to ask — where is the water going and why isn’t it being put back in for everyone to use?’’

Goulburn-Murray Water northern resource manager Mark Bailey said because winter and spring rainfall was lower than average, it had resulted in very low inflows into Lake Eppalock — and all of G-MW’s storages.

A meeting was called last week for residents and representatives of Save Lake Eppalock Facebook page to tell the Victorian Government they wanted water in their lake.

About 20 people attended, and issues of fire hazards, irrigation and the use of environmental water were raised.

According to G-MW records, Lake Eppalock is 31 per cent full, and has dropped 71295Ml since the same time last year.

VFF Water Council chairman Richard Anderson said the low levels of Lake Eppalock had already had an effect on farmers.

‘‘Unfortunately there’s not much we can do until we get some inflow into the lake,’’ Mr Anderson said.

Ms Parker said the Save the Eppalock group wanted the lake to be filled to at least 50 per cent capacity for irrigation and recreational use.

She said if the water was sold, it shouldn’t go below 50 per cent, unless it was used for emergencies.

‘‘They’re just taking too much out.’’

Dr Bailey said those who had the right to use the water included urban water corporations who supply towns and businesses, irrigators who grow food, and the environmental water holders who protect and improve the waterway.

City of Greater Bendigo Eppalock Ward councillor Helen Leach said there needed to be a review about the use of water.

‘‘I don’t think we have enough water,’’ Cr Leach said.

‘‘Water shouldn’t be commodified — it is too scarce a resource.

‘‘It could definitely be managed better.’’

Lake Eppalock resident Terry Tolra said he was ‘‘disgusted’’ with the water levels.

‘‘The greenery from the lake bed gets blown onto my property, which is a fire hazard,’’ Mr Tolra said.