Leader backs lakes thinking
Long-time Wimmera community advocate Bob Kirsopp has applauded Hindmarsh mayor Ron Ismay for his call for an exploration of ways to get water into Lake Albacutya.
Mr Kirsopp, a former Horsham mayor, said he felt compelled to add his support to Cr Ismay’s plea.
“We want a few more like him who are willing to have a go and be thinking 30 years in advance, not three,” he said.
Cr Ismay said last week that if authorities could find a way to guarantee regular flows into Lake Albacutya near Rainbow, they would make inroads into solving water issues throughout the Murray Darling Basin.
He suggested looking beyond rain in the catchment and consider bringing technology, including a new desalination process, despite being in its infancy, to the discussion table.
His concept was in response to a Federal Government commitment to provide $1.5-billion for water-efficiency projects across the Murray Darling Basin. The Wimmera-mallee is in the southern part of the basin.
Mr Kirsopp said much of the progress that had occurred in water-supply management had been based on a philosophical approach.
“For example, instead of thinking how hard something might be and how much it might cost now, in doing the sums we always need to consider the growth something might generate in the future. In some cases that’s dollars but in some cases it’s not,” he said.
“Us old blokes who have been on this earth more than 80 years have seen this all before.
“In some cases we must force ourselves to
approach projects from a different perspective. Providing a key service such as water supply always, ultimately, pays for itself.
“We’re constantly thinking of water as a basic tradable commodity when we know it can be much more than that.
“The cost of doing something is always thrown up in the face of questions about getting water somewhere. Of course we know from experience that water infrastructure doesn’t pay for itself straight away. But it’s a bigger-picture scenario we’re looking at here.
“What we also know is that water can generate considerable socio-economic growth.
“From a local government perspective if councils listed cost as the only consideration in developing any project we would still be back in the dark ages driving a horse and cart.
“We must take calculated risks and be willing to cop some flack. A long-term vision is what we’re after.”
Mr Kirsopp, who has also been an outspoken advocate for the value of Natimuk Lake, said the Wimmera-mallee’s vast network of natural boom-and-bust swamps, where appropriate, as well as targeted recreation lakes, should be considered for artificial watering.
“If there is not enough water then I agree with Ron Ismay – in this day and age especially, let’s try to find a way of making water we know we can access but can’t use – and make it usable.”
Cr Ismay, meanwhile, stressed his call represented more than simply finding a way to fill Lake Albacutya.
“I’m thinking about the benefits it would create for all communities on the Wimmera River system,” he said.