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More fresh, no bore key to city’s supply

Thursday, 26th February, 2015

Independent candidate for Barwon, Rohan Boehm, launches ‘The People’s Water Plan’ for Broken Hill and Menindee yesterday at the Zinc Lakes. Independent candidate for Barwon, Rohan Boehm, launches ‘The People’s Water Plan’ for Broken Hill and Menindee yesterday at the Zinc Lakes.

By Emily Roberts

An independent candidate in the State election has come forward with a water plan for the region but members from the Menindee Lakes Action Group are waiting to hear what all candidates have to say.

Yesterday independent candidate for Barwon, Rohan Boehm, launched “The People’s Water Plan” for Broken Hill and Menindee. 

The plan outlined infrastructure upgrades to the Menindee Lakes as well as changes to regulation necessary for more secure water levels and efficient management.

Mr Boehm said a secure, high quality water supply was critical.

“The 640GL capacity of the Menindee Lakes upstream of Copi Hollow and Lake Wetherell must be protected for Broken Hill’s community needs,” Mr Boehm said.

“To do this, we need to maintain NSW’s total control of this storage by raising the control trigger from 480 gigalitres to 640 gigalitres.”

He also stated that infrastructure upgrades were necessary.

“We need to construct an effective regulator between Lake Menindee and Lake Cawndilla so that stored water for environmental purposes is controllable into the main Darling River channel,” Mr Boehm said.

“Copi Hollow will need to be kept full as a last resort for emergency supply.

“This is a water sharing plan, not a water management plan. (This means) I am absolutely saying no bore water.

“I am confident we can call this ‘the people’s plan’.

“Some channels in the lakes also need to be de-silted and aligned to allow drainage of the residual pool in Lake Cawndilla into the Darling River channel.”

Mr Boehm also has plans to upgrade and seal the road from Pooncarie to Menindee to give tourists “better access to the lakes, which will further boost economic activity across this region”.

Water advocate Darryn Clifton, who started the “Menindee Lakes: We Want Action” Facebook page, was at the announcement yesterday.

“There were some good points in the plan and we are advocating some of those points,” Mr Clifton said.

“It’s good to see he doesn’t plan to reduce flows, like the Office of Water.

“I would like to see a Weir 32 upgrade as well as rising the wall.

“We need an interim plan, we need an emergency pipeline and back-up storages.”

Mr Clifton said protecting the water storage was important.

“Above 480 gigalitres is good - 640 gigalitres seems like a fair amount to fit into the lakes,” he said.

“But it would be good if we can fit 700 to 750 GL and squeeze it in there.

“The figures would need to be looked at.”

Mr Clifton said Mr Boehm had taken on advice from the Action group, but it was important to find a short term water solution.

“A few points that Mr Boehm spoke about have aligned with our charter,” he said.

“It is basic common sense.

“What we need to look at now is short term solutions for our water supply - where are we going to get water?”

Mr Clifton said the public needed to know what each candidate has to offer.

“I would like to see more independents come to fruition. Rohan couldn’t do it on his own (if he won the seat),” he said.

“It will remain to be seen. There is some good opposition.

“People need to ask what is best for the community before they vote.

“I won’t be making up my mind until the day before the election.”

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