A NATIMUK resident is concerned that GWMWater’s review of the bulk entitlement system does not address the need for more recreational water in the Wimmera.
GWMWater called for public submissions on the current and future operation of the Grampians reservoirs system earlier this month.
The review will consider if the bulk entitlement system is functioning as intended and identify possible improvements to system operations.
Water for Natimuk Lake Action Group secretary Mary Smith said an online fact sheet, provided by GWMWater, stated the review would not consider any amendments to existing primary entitlement volumes or the creation of a new water allocation.
“Effectively, this review’s only purpose is to fulfil a legislative responsibility of GWMWater as it does not give any opportunity for the public to ask for more water for recreation purposes,” she said.
Mrs Smith said there was a need for more recreational water in the Wimmera.
“Currently only 2590 megalitres of the 125,550 megalitres of water available, or two per cent, is allocated for recreation purposes,” she said.
She said Wimmera lakes needed more water for recreation.
“A specific objective of the Wimmera-Mallee Pipeline project was to provide greater certainty for the provision of recreation water in the region,” she said.
“This has not been the case.
"Unfortunately, it is unlikely that GWMWater will ever agree to allocate water to Natimuk Lake but they should include recreation water allocations for Green Lake, Toolondo Lake, Lake Fyans, Lake Lonsdale at the very least – these lakes provide a vital social function to our region.”
As of Tuesday, Green Lake was at 56 per cent capacity.
Mrs Smith said the lake was important to the Horsham community.
She said the social value of recreational water was enormous.
“A healthy, active community will help fight the major growing health problems of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, drug use and serious mental health issues,” she said.
“So many youth suffer from mental health issues and to see the great joy young people get from participating in water sports of all kinds is very satisfying.”
Mrs Smith encouraged people to make submissions to GWMWater before Friday.
“The review must consider amendments to existing primary entitlement volumes – otherwise the whole process is a farce, a rubber stamp exercise to fulfil a legislative requirement,” she said.
“People power is important and unless we make submissions, GWMWater won’t realise how important recreational water is to the community.”
GWMWater managing director Mark Williams said the review of the Wimmera and Glenelg rivers’ bulk and environmental entitlements would look at ways to improve operations for consumptive, water quality, environmental and recreational purposes.
“We have learnt a lot since the Wimmera-Mallee Pipeline was completed and as a result of drought and flooding,” he said.
“Once all submissions have been reviewed we will undertake a second round of engagement on the recommended changes to the bulk entitlements.”