Carrathool Shire Council mayor Peter Laird has voiced his outrage at being denied approval to refill Lake Woorabinda before the Australia Day long-weekend.
Mr Laird said in previous years council has had no problems with receiving approval to temporarily transfer water from the high security town allocation.
The NSW Department of Industry is responsible for water licences and approvals required by councils. This year Mr Laird said he was hoping to receive the consent of Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair, to temporarily transfer 275 megalitres of high security water to the artificial lake.
“We normally get minister's consent no worries at all, but this year the season is going to be two-thirds gone by the time we get the water, you would think the weekend on Australia Day we wouldn’t have a dry lake,” Councillor Laird said.
“I don't know whether Niall Blair has seen it, it’s the bureaucracy at the department which has blocked it, we went to Austin Evans to get it to Blair, but we were hoping to have water in the lake for the Australia Day long weekend,” Cr Laird said.
Cr Larid said the water would be pumped from bores and put through the water treatment plant first.
“The lake has got an allocation, we have got another 75 megalitres we can move across but it’s not adequate, to guarantee the lake will be usable we need the 275,” he said. “It’s not wasteful, it serves a purpose it really lifts the town when we have got water in the lake, it services the wildlife, water skiing, boating and the kids can get out there.”
“But here is the opportunity with the lake to get people away from their everyday grind and stress of what they are going through with drought, and here is government totally ignoring us,” Cr Laird said.
Meeting with the mayor Murray MP Austin Evans said he is working with council to consider solutions to refill the lake.
“Hillston is in that situation where they have not had to use that town water for a number of years as they have bores in place, it’s similar to towns which have applied to use that same kind of water for golf courses,” Mr Evans said.
WaterNSW and the NSW Department of Industry were contacted for comment.
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