The expansion of Lake Buffalo in north-east Victoria and its possible connection via a pipeline to Lake Nillahcootie should be referred to the Commonwealth Government’s new national water authority for investigation.
Shadow Minister for Water Steph Ryan is also calling on the Victorian Government to reverse its panicked and unsupported ‘no dams’ policy.
The Victorian Government already owns the land required for Lake Buffalo’s expansion, with preliminary planning completed when the lake was first built in 1965. The expansion could be achieved through a tri-state agreement between Victoria, NSW and South Australia.
Substantial water savings could be made by expanding Lake Buffalo’s storage capacity and reducing reliance on Lake Victoria in south west NSW, where 130 gigalitres of water evaporated last year alone. Those savings could provide greater security to entitlement holders in Victoria, southern NSW and South Australia.
Investigation by the Commonwealth Government’s National Water Grid Authority would determine whether Lake Buffalo could be connected to Lake Nillahcootie to overcome the capacity constraints of the Barmah choke.
This would provide water security for irrigators and improve environmental outcomes by reducing peak flows through the Barmah choke.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Water Steph Ryan
Drought-stricken farmers in northern Victoria and southern NSW are on desperately low allocations.
This is a transformational opportunity for state governments and the Commonwealth to come together to investigate a project that could provide greater security for irrigators and reduce erosion of the banks of the Murray River through the Barmah choke.
Daniel Andrews needs to put aside his ideological and irrational opposition to building new dams and look at all options to secure water for farmers and the environment.
Australians are calling out for the kind of vision that built the Snowy Hydro project. We believe the expansion of Lake Buffalo could be a similar kind of nation-shaping project.