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.”
See Today’s Colac Herald for more.