TOOLONDO Reservoir is unsafe for human use following the detection of blue-green algae in it.
Authorities warn if contaminated water comes in contact with human skin it can cause skin rashes, itchiness, sore eyes, ears and nose or, if swallowed, might induce nausea and vomiting.
The out-of-bounds warning for swimmers is a further blow to the ailing lake.
The Mail-Times reported on Monday that the reservoir was at 29 per cent capacity and residents wanted 5000 megalitres of water to save the lake and community.
Toolondo resident Carmel Officer said the discovery of algae did not surprise her after she noticed strong rotting odours coming from the lake in recent weeks.
She said it would further damage recreational tourism at the lake because it would mean swimming and other water activities were no longer safe.
GWMWater advised that it was still safe to use a boat on Toolondo provided water made no contact with human skin.
Mrs Officer said she was unable to understand how the reservoir was allowed to reach such a point while water was dumped during winter.
“The wastage of water in the winter months is ludicrous and someone needs to be held accountable,” she said.
“It’s just a pure waste of the most precious commodity in the world.”
Mrs Officer called on Water Minister Peter Walsh to attend to the reservoir and allow water from Rocklands Reservoir to be released.
She also questioned the value of environmental flows during winter.
Mrs Officer said the algae was a result of the prolonged hot weather and low rainfall.
She said the situation would ease if more water was released into the reservoir.
“It might freshen up with the wind but we certainly don’t want too much more warm weather and no water because it will go rotten very quickly,” she said.
The warning is in place indefinitely. GWMWater said it was impossible to determine when it would be lifted.
GWMWater has also warned farmers and pet owners to use an alternative source for watering stock and pets.
Water infected with algae can cause sickness and in some cases death for animals.