A common response from readers of The Daily Advertiser, to almost any story about money being spent on Wagga's amenities, is 'what about Lake Albert?'.
Even relatively young citizens have spent 10 years campaigning for better water quality and higher water levels.
The need to restore the lake has been highlighted as the current coronavirus pandemic has a lot more people walking, jogging and riding around the lake to escape confinement at home.
Nobody is sure exactly when everyday Australians will have anything like the pre-pandemic access to international travel that we all once took for granted.
Many Australians will have to make a return to domestic holidays, at least in the short term.
With algae or low water levels threatening recreation at Lake Albert, Wagga could miss out on much-needed economic boosts from domestic tourism.
Waterskiing and sailing competitions have brought many visitors and a lot of spending to Wagga in the past and could do so again, provided both health regulations and the lake's water issues will allow it.
Previous discussion about using water that might otherwise go to irrigation in order to lift the lake's water level provoked concern across the region from irrigators.
Now that the drought has eased this conversation might go over better with surrounding areas, but there is still a lot of sensitivity over how river systems are managed.
Wagga City Council has previously tried to divert water back into the lake by shuttering off a drain but hit a brick wall of bureaucracy from NSW government agencies.
Hopefully an effective and affordable solution is found this time.
Whether for promoting healthy lifestyles, for economic benefits or simply making the city a more pleasant place to live, Wagga needs a solution for Lake Albert.
We hope that the winter rains continue to deliver more water and provide some relief around Lake Albert, as well as for the region's farmers recovering from drought.
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