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Fair go for lakes, say locals

Tuesday, 19th January, 2010

* Shane Sparrow, fishing on Lake Pamamaroo yesterday. * Shane Sparrow, fishing on Lake Pamamaroo yesterday.

Fishermen at Menindee say water should be used to replenish the lakes rather than be directed to South Australia.

Good rains in northern NSW at Christmas have seen a flow of fresh water make its way down the Darling River to Menindee.

The NSW Office of Water said last week it expected up to 800 billion litres of water to enter the Menindee Lakes by mid to late February.

An unknown quantity of that water is now expected to flow south after the New South Wales Premier Kristina Keneally agreed to direct "reasonable environmental flows to SA".

But Broken Hill local Shane Sparrow yesterday said the area should not be sold down the river. Mr Sparrow, who was fishing at Menindee yesterday, believed more water was needed locally before being released to SA.

"We (NSW) have a right to the water," he said. Mr Sparrow said the quality of the water now in the lakes system, including at Copi Hollow, was very poor.

While the current inflows will fill Lake Pamamaroo and Lake Wetherall, the NSW Government has confirmed that Menindee's lower lakes, including lakes Menindee and Cawndilla which have been dry for years, will not receive any inflow.

Mr Sparrow said the flow of water down the Darling had gained a lot of interest from locals, tourists and national television news channels. He said he was interviewed by Channel Seven and that the Herald Sun had been to Menindee taking photos.

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