Wagga mayor Dallas Tout has welcomed the incoming NSW Water Minister's support for a deal to use river water to support Lake Albert, saying it will provide certainty for sports events and residents.
Wagga City Council was this week able to secure a commitment from Minister for Lands and Water Kevin Anderson that he would honour a memorandum of understanding (MOU) over Lake Albert.
The MOU was signed by Mr Anderson's predecessor, Melinda Pavey, in March as a proposed solution to Lake Albert's long-term issues with low water levels and Blue Green Algae blooms.
The continued agreement allows Wagga City Council to seek state and federal government funding for a pipeline to deliver up to 1.8 gigalitres of water from the Murrumbidgee River to Lake Albert.
"The general manager [Peter Thompson] has confirmed it with the new minister, Mr Anderson, that they are going to honour that commitment and continue to work to formalise that in legislation," Cr Tout said.
"That's great for a city as it's a unique situation in NSW to have that MOU and the [water use] licence so it's great to move forward with that piece of the puzzle in place.
"We're still working with Riverina Water on the [pipeline] design and which parts need construction and which parts we can reuse and consulting with them on the entry point for the pipeline into the river."
The MOU in March came after years of low levels in Lake Albert costing the city major watersports events.
Cr Tout said the completion of the pipeline would allow certainty for sporting events at Lake Albert and al the economic benefits they brought to the city.
"It's not just sporting events, it's the lake itself and the visual amenity," he said.
"Our objective is to get it done and constructed this year."
Mr Anderson said theNSW government remained committed to working with the council to implement the MOU, which required the granting of a temporary specific purpose access licence for the river water.
"To minimise the impact on irrigators and total river flows the proposed specific purpose access license would limit access so the 1.8 gigalitres cannot be taken during the peak irrigation period of October to March," Mr Anderson said.
"The proposed license will act as a temporary solution to provide time to develop plans for a longer-term solution."
Wagga Sailing Club Commodore Garry Williams, who has seen more sailors return to Lake Albert after heavy rains lifted its water level, said the MOU would benefit the whole city.
"I was afraid that the MOU might not have continued under the new minister, I was expecting it to be ratified earlier than this," Mr Williams said.
"The water means a lot in so far as the city doesn't always have the lake able to be used in a way that you have continuity, that you can schedule inter-club or interstate events for the next year because we didn't have surety that we would have enough water.
"I think it mean a lot to water users and people who walk around the lake or use it for an aesthetic purpose; the lower the water the greater chance for algae and impurities and hence smell and inability to fish or do anything."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: