Goulburn-Murray Water will shut down irrigation access to Greens Lake, citing the high cost of maintenance of pumps and the storage’s negligible contribution to irrigation supplies in the past five years.
Although relatively small, with a total capacity of just 28000Ml, the storage was created in the 1960s to contribute towards irrigation supplies through the Waranga Western Channel downstream of the Corop lake.
However, G-MW said the annual cost of pump maintenance was about $200000 and there was an impending cost of replacement of the pumps which had been estimated at $3million.
The lake is an off-stream storage which can be filled from the channel system by gravity, but requires pumps to lift the water out.
Although the pumps will go, G-MW said Greens Lake could still take water from the channels for environmental or emergency purposes.
The decision was made as part of G-MW’s Connections project which has tightened up channel operations, a result of which being Greens Lake water has not been needed for irrigation — and a project spokesperson said it would not be needed in the future.
The Greens Lake water has been included in Goulburn seasonal determinations in the past but will not be included from the start of the 2019-20 season.
‘‘Independent modelling of system behaviour shows the removal of Greens Lake from the Goulburn system has no impact on seasonal determinations against high reliability water shares.’’
The Connections project is now looking at improvements to the lake area and has been allocated a $200000 government grant for toilet facilities.
G-MW said irrigators did not fund recreational use of storages and the shutting down of the pumps would represent a net saving for irrigators.
Pompapiel farmer John Gledhill is unhappy about the decision and said the decision removed water from irrigators.
‘‘To put this into a local scenario, it means a loss of over 3.7 years’ worth of irrigation water from the now defunct (Rochester) settlement area that covered 5000 acres.
‘‘Now that this storage has been taken away from irrigators and is now only for the sole purpose of the environment/tourism, who is going to supply the 28000Ml it held, back to the irrigators?
‘‘Is the environmental water holder and/or the government going to relinquish/give back this amount of water from their permanent holdings? Mr Gledhill asked.
■For G-MW’s full response to questions from Country News about the decision, go to www.countrynews.com.au