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    Mark Williams.

Water for recreational lakes assured

By Jenny Shand

GWMWater will ensure 12 key recreational lakes and weir pools across the Wimmera and Mallee remain full through to Easter as the region braces for a long, hot summer.

The water authority started directing water from its Grampians storages through its pipelines to 10 of the water bodies in July and aims to have the task completed this month.

Northern Mallee Pipeline supply has already filled Ouyen Lake and Green Lake near Sea Lake.

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While winter and spring rain failed to deliver quality inflows to key storages across the Grampians, managing director Mark Williams said the water authority’s commitment to recreational supply was assured for summer.

“They don’t take great volumes of water, but they are the focus of communities gathering together over summertime,” he said.

“This supply will get them through to Christmas time and they might require some more leading up to Easter.”

Weir pools at Warracknabeal, Brim and Beulah, Hopetoun’s Lake Lascelles, Donald Caravan Park Lake and Murtoa’s Lake Marma are among those receiving recreational supply.

With summer looming, the latest information reveals:

• The Grampians storage system is at 43.6 percent of capacity, down from 50.73 percent at the same time last year;

• Much of the Grampians catchment recorded below average rainfall between July and September, with inflow at 34 percent of the historical average for the three months;

• The Bureau of Meteorology’s rainfall outlook for the Grampians catchment between October and December is for less than a 25 percent chance of median rain;

• And the Bureau of Meteorology also expects daytime temperatures to be above average over the same period.

Water resources and recreation strategy co-ordinator Bernie Dunn said an annual survey commissioned by the Wimmera Development Association showed that recreational water bodies played a strong role in helping keep people and rural economies healthy.

The survey, in its fourth year, examines the socio-economic value of recreational and environmental water in the Wimmera and Southern Mallee across 20-plus water bodies.

“If you look at the direct expenditure by people camping and day visitors at the 10 water bodies filled at the Grampians end that we are talking about, it comes in at more than $3-million a year,” Mr Dunn said.

“The total economic flow-on benefit to the region is about $10-million.”

Mr Dunn said consultants Street Ryan would start its next survey this month.

The entire November 6, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!