Lake Albert's blue-green algae woes and how the community thinks we can fix it

Wagga is a very passionate city, and that passion has been particularly on show this Lake Albert-free summer.

Yes, the lake was open for a few weeks, but it’s been on a red alert for blue-green algae since mid-December.

For almost the last three months, Wagga City Council’s website has warned the public that the lake is considered “unsuitable for water contact activities, such as swimming, bathing, sailing, skiing or other direct water-contact sports.” 

Thunder on the Lake went ahead but the on-water New Year’s Eve celebrations – a huge success, by all accounts – had to be canned due to the water quality. There’s a distinct smell that wasn’t there before. And recent blooms have pooled in a spectacular green fashion. Pretty, yes, desirable, no.

A community and council committee has been formed to address the lake’s woes, dozens turned out for a rally at Apex Park and the Wagga Boat Club and other lake stakeholders have suffered.

As the worst outbreak in the lake’s history continues, WWCC is working on plans for the Tatton Drain diversion as part of a larger plan for managing the lake.

“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,” council’s strategic asset planner Ben 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 and city compliance Mark Gardiner stressed that the diversion is not a guaranteed solution for the lake’s ongoing algal blooms. 

The community hasn’t held back in commentary. We’ve collected the most popular comments and ideas from our social media audience here. 

The anger and nostalgia

Picture: Kate Mac/Facebook

Picture: Kate Mac/Facebook

Kate Mac | You use to see families...tradies....workers visitor.... And locals having lunch on the grass … In the afternoon couples... Photographers...... People on their own and locals sitting on the grass or bring their chair to watch our amazing sun sets..... Beautiful sunsets with the reflections on the lake.....not now...hardly anyone comes to the's only a road along side the lake now being used as a short one stops....but you do get the buses speeding down Eastlake Drive the fumes from them make a nice change to the organic smell.....…

Peter Heffernan | And yet, despite the WWCC warning signs regarding blue green algae in plain view on the Boat Club side, the Thunder on the Lake boat races went ahead. I'm NOT criticising the organisers of that event, but I was there, saw the familiar algae coloured water, saw every competitor, kids and dogs in the water, and here we are, no one got sick. What!?

Cassie Ween | seriously, it smells so bad on lake albert rd/lakeside dr end that you can hardly walk around it anymore. You gag as you hurry past.

David Campbell | disgusting,,,to think as kids we swam in the lake often ,,wouldn't go close to it now

Janelle Buchanan | How come we never had problems back when we used to be out there all the time in the 80’s it wasn’t green back then 

The fix-up suggestions

Jimmy Callan | Few strategically placed pumps and water fountains would eliminate this in no time.

Tony Blayden | Absolutely no reason council couldnt run a pump and fountain type of setup off the existing pump sight near golf course to aerate water more. Or something similar. ISNT LAKE SITTING ON A SPRING WHY NOT USE THAT. The lake needs flow to aerate but i cant see it getting any flow from river or anything of course water with no flow will continue to breed algae Seems like council dont care about the lake

Cindi Thompson | Is it worthwhile aerating parts of it with some sort of solar device - water fountain, or some water art work in the centre ??

Lorenzo Ravencroft | Let it fall back to being the marshland it was originally, bring back the wet lands and the wildlife that comes with it such as the endangered black cockatoo, various other water birds and parrots, wallabies and the native vegetation like endangered red gums. If we want a lake so badly build a new one thats useful, like out at north wagga where it can connected to storm flow systems and the river as a way to prevent/reduce the impact if flooding, an in turn with a constant water flow it won't develop so much algae.

Toby Thompson | What about increasing the flow into it by pumping the water from lake albert treatment plant up to it or over to the creek above it, possibly install a fountain or gyser like in canberra. Making it deeper may make the water colder but the mud on the bottom is likely to be contaminated

Darryl Jones | Hey I've git an idea. Why don't WWCC ask a local earth moving company to dredge it and they can keep the silt as payment. Genius!!!!

Richard Foley | Here is something that Michael McCormack now Deputy PM & Infrastructure Minister can attend to suggest stacks of people write in to his office requesting Federal funding to fix this lake & commence a new infrastructure project

The alternative spends

Troy Curtis | Fix McPherson oval before you stuff around with the lake..

The ~different~ takes

Rusi Devendra | The lake is a kale smoothie

Erin Ferguson | The National Institute for the Acquiring and Practice of Common Sense has today confirmed that members of the Wagga Wagga local council are not fit to hold office. According to the NIAPCS' report, Wagga Councillors are of an established breed of civil servant, called "hypocrites". This means that they regularly and loudly assert finances and resources to societal, infrastructural and or cultural issues, whilst in the same breath, completely renege on their intentions of the same issue in different areas. In conclusion, the Institute's report found that these Councillors only accept responsibility for inner-city beautification within walking distance of Council Chambers, which is either the car park or nearest food-for-money trade center. The Lake, being a good seven kilometer trek, falls in the ever so popular Overtly Complicated Issues for Ordinary Systematic Problem-Solving Capabilities Inbox, or "Too-Hard-Basket", according to scientists at the Institute. The Institute recommends that citizens do the sensible thing and avoid relying on these sedentary beings. (NIAPCS, 2018)

Old-Longwood Ruffy Conlan | One tin of paint would not be enough to make the lake this green. You would need at least..... 4 tins of paint.

Will Kaiser Taber | It's a new Wagga tourism plan by WWCC for ST Patrick's day

Elle Anderson | Now just gotta find shrek and Fiona

JD Blondinau | They’re more worried about the 11 million dollar push bike track to worry about the lake

Phillip Wilson | The council is getting it set for Saint Patrick's Day, a nice emerald green.

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