Plans to solve algae on Lake Albert by harvesting storm water from the Tatton Drain

In the midst of the worst outbreak of blue-green algae in Lake Albert’s history, Wagga City Council has begun developing plans for the Tatton Drain diversion.

The council’s strategic asset planner Ben Creighton said the diversion is part of a larger Lake Albert management plan the council is developing. 

“The idea behind the Tatton Drain diversion is trying to capture more storm water and diverting it into the lake, so the lake has a higher top level for a longer period of time,” Mr Creighton said.

“Obviously, a deeper body of water will reduce the temperature of the water, which can potentially contribute to a reduction in algae growth.” 

However, the council’s manager of environment & city compliance Mark Gardiner stressed that the diversion is not a guaranteed solution for the lake’s ongoing algal blooms. 

“It needs to be a holistic approach, and although increasing the flows of the lake will assist, there's no guarantee that it will solve the problem,” Mr Gardiner said.

“People can make a difference themselves – the amount of fertiliser people put on their lawns, picking up dog faeces as they walk around the lake – all of that is adding to the nutrient load in the body of water.” 

Lake Albert has held all the perfect conditions for blue-green algal growth this summer – warm weather, low water levels, a lack of rain, and high amounts of nutrients. 

Together, these conditions have seen this summer’s algal bloom easily surpass the previous record of 60 days. 

Commodore of the Wagga Boat Club Mick Henderson said almost three months of algae has had serious impacts on their business.

“There’s no day trade coming in because there’s no boats, a lot of walkers aren’t walking because of the smell, we’re missing out on the afternoon skiers – it’s a major financial problem,” Mr Henderson said. 

“If it doesn’t improve, I’m certainly going to go higher up the chain to the state government and the federal government, because this is getting past a joke.” 

Mr Henderson also added that he and other key stakeholders met with the council on Thursday afternoon to discuss the Tatton Drain diversion’s progress, which he described as “very productive” and “very positive.”

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