The latest solution to revive Lake Albert after years of suffering through drought is getting closer to becoming a reality after a meeting with council, state government representation, and the community on Saturday.
After multiple options were suggested by relevant parties, Wagga City Council favoured the decision to treat water at the Narrung Street Sewage Treatment Plant from B grade to A grade quality, and construct pipelines to divert the excess water into Lake Albert. According to Wagga Mayor Greg Conkey, this option would be expensive, but more secure.
"We're looking at a cost of 18-20 million dollars to construct and carry out over 18 months, but it will have a greater capacity," he said. However, Cr Conkey raised concerns over how they would fund the project.
"It has to be paid for in one of the following ways: Assistance from the government, borrowing money, or introducing a rate variation through local rate payers," he said. One local rate payer at the meeting, Bruce Dodson, supported the rise in rate payments to save the lake.
"I would happily pay a few hundred extra on my rates to get this lake back and I believe everyone here would feel the same," he said.
Commodore of the Lake Albert Boat Club, Mick Henderson, said the treatment of sewage water was viable, but there needed to be a more rapid solution.
"We need a simple solution in the short term to at least make it usable. Something needs to be done now," he said.
The alternative to sewage treatment was the suggestion to build a pipeline diverting water from the Murrumbidgee River, but Councillor Paul Funnell had concerns.
"It's taking productive water away from irrigators with no compensation. There's people in the region who already only get 7 per cent of that water, and next year will get none, they can't afford to lose more," he said.
Wagga MP Joe McGirr expressed his support for the sewage treatment plan. "I'm ready to act with the council, community and state government to get Lake Albert the funding it needs," he said.
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