With yet another health warning issued late last week, Wagga could now be facing another summer without using Lake Albert.
Wagga City Council warned against coming into contact with the lake on Friday afternoon after testing revealed high levels of enterococci, a bacteria caused by faecal matter in the water.
With signs around the shore warning the lake is now “closed for use” due to poor water quality, businesses and residents have been left reeling.
Commodore of the Wagga Boat Club Mick Henderson said that between the faecal bacteria and the blue-green algae, lakeside businesses just cannot get a break.
“They’re now warning people against using it, so it virtually brings us back to where we were this time last year when it was closed for months due to the blue-green algae,” he said.
“This has now become an environmental problem – it’s not longer a recreational or community thing – so that’s how we have to approach it.”
While the council recently announced plans to install ultrasound technology capable of controlling the algae, Mr Henderson said faecal bacteria was a new ball game.
“We can have no more band-aid solutions – there’s only one answer, and that’s introducing water from the river, and we’ll be pushing very hard for that,” he said.
While warning signs advised against using the lake, many residents thought that was due to the ongoing blue-green algae, not realising the faecal bacteria had spiked.
James Roberts-Bell said he and his son cut their jet boating session short after seeing the poor water quality.
“This lake’s got so much potential, but while they just rely on rainwater, it’ll stay the way it is,” Mr Roberts-Bell said.
“They’ve got to do something drastic, and they’ve got to get a fixed water flow through the lake to clean it out – they’ll not get rid of the bacteria unless they do that.”
Plans to divert the Tatton Drain into the lake were approved earlier this year, but work was stopped before it even began when the council discovered they needed added government approval.
Further water testing is due to take place on Monday.