Hot and bothered Griffith residents are hot under the collar, as we enter the nitty gritty of the harsh summer months.
Residents are still at a loss as to how their city, with a population approaching 30,000, still remains without access to an outdoor body of recreational water.
Lake Wyangan currently sits on amber alert for blue-green algae, which draws a line through swimming but suggests recreational use is safe.
The lake’s substandard condition is wearing thin on sweltering residents, desperate to see one of their most valuable assets become available for better use.
Murrumbidgee Irrigation (MI) faced a no-confidence motion late last year on the back of the issue, while nationally-renowned water expert and Griffith resident Geoff Sainty has been vocal in what he believes is long-term mismanagement.
Residents were also outraged to find their drinking water last winter was sourced from the lake without warning, while upgrades at the main channel were completed.
Council and MI’s most recently reported long-term action to fix the lake came at the end of 2016, when The Lake Wyangan and Catchment Management Strategy was made public.
The report was an extensive investigation into the lake's water quality issues taking about a year to produce and costing $140,000.
It found the contributing factors to blue-green algae to be complex and determined there is no one management action to resolve the situation.
Then Council CEO Neil Southorn said further planning and discussion is required before acting on any recommendations.
“The types of in-lake treatments include water circulation and artificial aeration, but the study has been necessary to determine whether this might be successful and how this might be achieved," he said.
Council asked the community to review the reports on the council website and offer feedback, and has since been ‘monitoring the situation’.
While there seems to be a distinct lack of urgency to tackle the problem – at least from the community’s perspective – concerned scientists continue to join the chorus of unhappy residents.
The number of people diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in the Griffith district is believed to be more than 10 times higher than average.
Councillor Christine Stead even said the community needed to be looking at potential causes of the high rates of MND in Griffith as it was too serious to ignore, back in 2016.
“Prevention is better than a cure,” she said. “This is very serious, it really frightens me.”
Griffith Boat Club member Scott Collis said following the strategy’s release in late 2016, “while the long term solutions are important and beneficial, the short term solutions need to be considered and action needs to be taken. If there is no action taken from the report it would be a monumental waste of taxpayers money,”
For now though, the farce of Griffith’s most eye-catching and unused resource will continue to remain a talking point until the community can see long-term action taking place to amend the issue.