River water proposal to re-fill Lake Colac

Colac residents, businesspeople, community leaders and politicians want the State Government to divert water from the Gellibrand River into Lake Colac.

A new community campaign Just Add Water is aiming to push Colac’s lake levels up and bring it back to its former glory.

A group of 20 Colac businesspeople joined forces about three months ago to fund an independent review into the feasibility of increasing water levels in the lake.

The independent consultant responsible for the report studied records about the lake dating back to the 1970s and researched how much water the lake needed to recover to a sustainable level.

Polwarth MP Richard Riordan said that by adding 6000 megalitres of water to the lake each year it could recover and with a management plan authorities could help prevent the lake from dropping to unusable levels again.

Mr Riordan said bringing the lake back to a level where people could use it recreationally would allow the promotion of Colac as “a city by the lake”.

He said the plan would require the State Government to allocate a portion of water from the Gellibrand River system to the lake, but would require minimal construction of infrastructure.

Mr Riordan said the Gellibrand River system transported three-million megalitres of water to the sea and Colac currently used 3000 megalitres of that water, which is only .1 per cent.

Warrnambool uses 12,000 megalitres of water from the Gellibrand River system.

Mr Riordan said the group wanted the government to commit to an annual entitlement of 9000 megalitres of water to Lake Colac when the water was available.

“We’re talking about transporting it over the four wet-winter months, so this is not about taking water in summer because taking water in summer doesn’t work,” he said.

“We propose to use the existing infrastructure that exists and brings water to Colac, we then divert at the top of the hill in Colac into the Barongarook Creek and into the lake.

For the full story see today’s Colac Herald.

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One Response to “River water proposal to re-fill Lake Colac”

  1. Bill

    Interesting idea. Would like to see more details though. The 6000 ML would add about 200mm to the lake. The use of Barongarook creek to deliver an extra 6000 ML over winter would be a major concern: likely to exasperate any flood events. Would need to see data on flows and impact on river heights.
    Also estimated on going costs would be good.
    If the goal is recreational and tourism (and environmental ?), the idea of a small lake near Colac would meet those same goals, and make this far more feasible. If a causeway made a smaller lake near Colac the size of Lake Bullen Merri, which is less than a fifth the size of Lake Colac, that 200mm would be 1000 mm. So you could pump less and have it at level even quicker.