Topping up Lake Colac could cost $150 million

A future water top-up of Lake Colac could cost up to $150 million depending on the volume of water needed, Polwarth MP Richard Riordan says.

A future water top-up of Lake Colac could cost up to $150 million depending on the volume of water needed, Polwarth MP Richard Riordan says.

Mr Riordan said he had approached Barwon Water to gain an understanding of the costs of adding water to Lake Colac when water levels decreased during drier-than-average seasons.

He said he had approached the water authority with a proposal from the Just Add Water campaign to use up to six gigalitres from the Gellibrand River system to top-up the lake.

“Barwon Water have come back with some analysis on the initial option we had; can we drain water from our water supply? And the answer is that we can. But in times of extreme weather, it wouldn’t be enough,” Mr Riordan said.

“Barwon Water also has done the research on the different ways we can get the water. But it all costs money. So the question is; how do we justify that? What is the benefit?”

He said adding at least one gigalitre of water could cost $5 million, while adding 15 gigalitres over three years could cost up to $150 million.

Mr Riordan said options for sourcing the water included taking one-to-three gigilitres from the Gellibrand River system, or sourcing bigger amounts of water from the West Barwon system or via a pipe using recycled water from Geelong.

“Quite frankly, I think we will be able to mount an argument, keeping in mind at $150 million that gives you the potential for large-scale agricultural development,” he said.

“That’s a gross cost, but the net cost would bring it back to somewhere between $40 and $50 million because of the economic return you get from businesses buying the water.”

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6 Responses to “Topping up Lake Colac could cost $150 million”

  1. Bill

    Juggy obviously the soil erosion goes into the lake. It is part of the natural formation that made the lake as large as it is. In terms of sediments, please sit down and do the math. Rough area is 30,000,000 m2. So for every 30,000 m3 eroded, that adds 1 mm. Again, rough maths, but given 6 km of eastern shore, that’s 6000 lots of 5 cubic meters, which is saying for every 5 cubic meters of soil eroded per meter of shoreline it adds 1 mm depth.

    I do agree a path would be fantastic. I actually think the area should be earmarked as residential amd build park and pathways all along. That would tackle erosion, sure, but erosion in the scheme of things is trivial.

    Water quality, nutrients, and suspended solids in sewage and stormwater are far bigger issues. The biota that grows off the nutrients dies decays and builds up that slimy sludge. If you want to spend millions put in polishing ponds, and better stormwater sedimentation ponds.

    Reply
  2. Juggy

    Bill… Where do you think the land from erosion goes then? It goes into the lake and spreads out… leading to a larger and shallower area over time.

    A wall (of a kind) incorporating a pathway around the lake connecting Colac, Beeac and Cororooke has the potential to generate money for the Shire regardless of water level or weather all year round. Just imagine the possibilities that could arise from such an idea.

    Reply
  3. Bill

    Juggy, disagree about the erosion within the lake. Apart from the cost not justifiable with the current land values, in the scheme of things it has little impact on overall lake depth. Millions spent there would make negligible changes to the volume of water or quality of water in the lake.

    Reply
  4. Bill

    Wow! Drinking water is a bit over $2 a KL, and recycled water a bit less. One million kL in GL, makes that about $2M a GL. So Richard is saying there is a business case to pump water at more than twice the price of drinking water into the lake, a giant evaporation pan, then sell off that water to farmers. And somehow that will increase lake levels ?
    And what of the flooding along Barongarook creek as he dumps GL into it in the middle of winter ?

    And once again, will Richard make all the reports he has public or not ? One has to wonder at the timing of this information release so soon post election avoiding any election campaign discussion.

    Reply
  5. Juggy

    Haha… I first mentioned the idea of ‘water from the Gellibrand River’ as a joke and he’s ran with it. But it’s not just Barwon Water that need consulting on it… It’s also Wannon Water, CCMA and probably others too!

    But the first thing that needs doing is ‘STOPPING THE EROSION’ as others have been saying. Otherwise that’s only going to continue and affect both sides of the coin.
    Once that’s done, people could look at putting water into the lake, but the best option would have to be the recycled water from Geelong. It’s no good taking clean drinking water from the system just to have it over flow once the lake is full.

    Plus! When/if the weather pattern shifts back to what it’s been in the past… Wouldn’t all this construction of pipes just be a waste???

    Reply
  6. Bill

    Wow! Drinking water is a bit over $2 a KL, and recycled water a bit less. One million kL in GL, makes that about $2M a GL. So Richard is saying there is a business case to pump water at more than twice the price of drinking water into the lake, a giant evaporation pan, then sell off that water to farmers. And somehow that will increase lake levels ?
    And what of the flooding along Barongarook creek as he dumps GL into it in the middle of winter ?

    And once again, will Richard make all the reports he has public or not ? One has to wonder at the timing of this information release so soon post election.

    Reply

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