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Lake hopes dashed

Tuesday, 1st April, 2008

It's the first release of water into Lake Menindee in years - and it wasn't supposed to happen. People visiting the Menindee Lakes lookout over the weekend could have been forgiven for thinking the lower lake was filling.

But while thousands of litres of water have entered the lake from the inlet regulator, shack owners at Sunset Strip shouldn't be rejoicing at the return of their lake-front views just yet. State Water's Mike Arandt said yesterday that the water had spilled over the top of the regulator gate that is holding back a full Lake Pamamaroo.

"It's only just leaking over the top of the gate," Mr Arandt said. "We're up to maximum surcharge in Lake Pamamaroo."

While it might look like a lot of water Mr Arandt said that the amount of water that entered Menindee was small.

"We've sealed it off ... because it's so flat it builds up pretty quickly." Mr Arandt said there were no plans to release water into lakes Menindee and Cawndilla. "Wilcannia's just about finished so there won't be much more coming in."

Currently 1400 megalitres of water a day is being released from Lake Wetherell down the Darling and Mr Arandt said this would be reduced to 300 megalitres a day by the end of the week. The flows, which have filled Pamamaroo and Copi Hollow and attracted campers back to the area, had brought life to Menindee.

"It's made a huge difference to town," Mr Arandt said.

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