"No Chance": Peter Walsh refuses water for Toolondo Reservoir

MINISTER for Water Peter Walsh has ruled out any chance of water being released into the drying Toolondo Reservoir.

Toolondo residents discussed the state of the reservoir with Mr Walsh at the Wimmera Machinery Field Days on Thursday. 

The Mail-Times reported in February that the reservoir was at 29 per cent capacity and residents wanted 5000 megalitres of water from Rocklands Reservoir to save the lake.

They believe their community is dying as water levels continue to drop.

The lake is also contaminated with blue-green algae.

Resident Melissa Kenealy asked Mr Walsh if there was any chance Toolondo could receive more water. 

“He basically said no,” she said.

If water in Rocklands Reservoir reaches a certain level, it can be released into Toolondo.

“He said for the water level in Rocklands to reach the trigger point, it needed a significant amount of water,” Ms Kenealy said. 

“He is going to let Toolondo go dry.

“We can’t even get water to help with the blue-green algae outbreak.”

Mr Walsh said operating laws determined water transfers between bulk water supplies.

“The primary purpose for water is for human existence and farming purposes,” he said. 

“We need to have enough water in Rocklands for that purpose – it has to be the priority.”

Mr Walsh said the only way Toolondo would get water was if it rained.

Ms Kenealy said the community would keep fighting.

“When someone tells you they are going to let a lake die, we can’t argue with that – he has made his decision,” she said. “We are going to keep fighting – we are not stopping.

“He is the Minister for Fisheries yet he is going to let the fish die.”

Ms Kenealy said Toolondo Reservoir was once a well-known place for fishing.

She said Toolondo now smelt like sewerage because of rotting weeds and fish.

Despite the battle, she said she was pleased with the amount of support the community had received.

“People in Horsham have been amazing – lots of people have various memories of Toolondo,” she said. 

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