Libs eye Lal Lal for Ballarat
BALLARAT would get Geelong’s share of water from the Lal Lal reservoir under Liberal policy, State Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu said on a visit to Ballarat yesterday.Mr Baillieu said under Liberal plans all water from the Lal Lal reservoir would be allocated to Ballarat, providing an extra 8000 megalitres of water to the region a year. “Ballarat’s water supply is under extreme pressure,” Mr Baillieu said. “Immediate action is necessary to secure water to cater for the region’s long-term growth, and we propose to do this by transferring all of the Lal Lal Reservoir resource to Ballarat.”Mr Baillieu said Ballarat had few options for new supplies of water.Under the Liberals’ plan, Geelong would be supplied with water from Pyke’s Creek and Newlingrook. Mr Baillieu said the Labor Government’s proposal to divert water from the Cairn Curren Reservoir was too expensive, and would adversely affect the environment. He said water levels at Cairn Curren were down to 5 to 10 per cent and would not provide a solution to Ballarat’s water shortage.Mr Baillieu also said that under Liberal plans Lake Wendouree would receive the necessary flow to maintain its level with stormwater from Gnarr Creek and Paul’s Wetland, and with additional supply from the Ballarat North Treatment Plan.A spokesman for Deputy Premier and Environment and Water Minister John Thwaites said the State Government was working on a long-term strategy to secure Ballarat water supplies.”We have released a Draft Central Region Sustainable Water and we are finalising the best options to secure Ballarat’s supplies,” he said. “Unlike the Liberal Party the government solution will meet the challenges of population and economic growth and climate change.”Ballarat East MLA Geoff Howard said Mr Baillieu hadn’t taken into consideration the environmental flow of the already severely stressed Moorabool River. Geelong’s allocation was taken out at the SheOaks Weir and provided valuable water flow to the river, he said. Mr Howard said work was also already under way to transfer storm water from Paul’s Wetland into Lake Wendouree. Ballarat West MLA Karen Overington said the Liberal’s policy was only a short term solution. She said Ballarat needed 14.5 billion litres in the long term but Lal Lal could provide only between 5 and 7 billion litres and only if the flow into the Moorabool stopped.
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