No new water on the horizon

By Lara Pearce

Recent dry conditions in the Lachlan Valley mean that farmers are unlikely to receive any additional General Security Available Water Determination (AWD) before January next year.

Likely forecast water availabilities in the Lachlan Regulated River for the 2015/16 water year were updated on Monday, 22 June.

The Department of Primary Industries’ Deputy Director of General Water, Gavin Hanlon, said that delivery of full allocations for high security, town water supply, domestic and stock purposes in 2015/16 are assured, as well as any water carried over in general security accounts.

“Carryover into 2015/16 will be about 175,000 megalitres, equivalent to 30% of entitlement on average,” Mr Hanlon said.

Mr Hanlon noted that inflows in the current water year had not been sufficient to make any new general security allocations.

“Inflows of about 125,000 megalitres are required into storages in June before any additional general security allocations can be made,” he said.

“Only 3,800 megalitres has arrived so far this month.”

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a 35% to 45% chance of median rainfall being exceeded in the region during the June to August period.

A firming El Nino in the tropical Pacific is expected to become the dominate influence on Australian climate during the second half of the year, making below average rainfall in the Lachlan Valley increasingly likely.

In the conditions turn out to be dry or extremely dry, no additional General Security AWD will be made before 31 January 2016. If median rainfall conditions are met, 17% of General Security water will be allocated by 30 October, rising to 18% by 31 January 2016.

If the conditions are wet, 66% of General Security AWD will be made available by 30 October, rising to 87% by 31 January 2016.

Wyangala Dam is currently at 36% storage capacity, holding approximately 441,000 megalitres. The dam levels continued to fall over the summer but have held steady since April of this year.

The Office of Water will continue to assess conditions to determine when additional allocations for general security access licence holders can be made.

Willow Bend at risk of flood devastation

CEO of the Condobolin Aboriginal Land Council, Rebecca Shepherd, surveys Willow Bend's broken flood gates and substandard levee while a concerned village resident looks on.

By Dominic Geiger

Revelations Willow Bend Village’s levee bank is at least one metre too low to protect the community in the event of a serious flood have emerged following last Wednesday’s council meeting.

It has also been revealed one of the community’s flood gates has fallen into the river while the other one is in a state of serious disrepair.

Despite having recently passed a motion to participate in the Aboriginal Communities Water and Sewerage Program for Willow Bend Village, administered by the NSW Office of Water, Lachlan Shire Council (LSC) is not responsible for the water services provided at Willow Bend.

“[These issues] are the Willow Bend Aboriginal community’s responsibility, as it is privately owned, [however] the shire has been trying to aid the community as much as possible in their attempt to acquire funding for the project,” Director for Technical Services at LSC Kevin Smith said.

CEO for the Condobolin Local Aboriginal Land Council (CLALC), Rebecca Shepherd, said the estimated cost of raising the kilometre long levee and replacing the flood gates was somewhere in the region of $800,000.

“The CLALC is confident the NSW Office of Water will contribute towards some of the funding, however we are unsure where the remainder will come from at this stage,” she said.

“During last year’s floods we were forced to sandbag the area to protect everyone who lives in the village.

“Since then, the NSW SES has conducted priority rankings of the most flood prone Aboriginal communities in NSW, with Willow Bend coming in at number two.”

Rebecca said in the event of a significant flood the community would be forced to evacuate.

“We have lots of elderly people and little children living here, so it would be difficult in an emergency,” she said.

“Because the shire is integrated into the whole process, they have been really supportive.

“Hopefully someone might help to sponsor those repairs which won’t be funded by the NSW Office of Water.

“It could be an opportunity for any major companies looking at setting up in Condobolin and working with the local community.”

Gumbend to be refilled this summer

By Dominic Geiger

Lachlan Shire Council has recently confirmed Condobolin’s Gum Bend Lake will once again be filled for the coming summer.

The announcement, which was made at last Wednesday’s shire meeting comes despite revelations the lake is losing approximately a foot of water every two to three weeks through an as yet undiscovered leak.

Mayor for the Lachlan Shire, Des Manwaring, said it was possible the leak had always been affecting water levels in the lake as this was the first year such stringent water measuring procedures had been put in place.

“No one ever took as much notice prior to the drought as they do now,” he said.

“With the current water restrictions in place it’s easier to notice.

“The [leaking] water is likely to be going back into the river.”

Des said it was council’s hope that the leak would ease with the swelling of clay in the lake bed.

“The trouble also is finding the leak, as it would be difficult to trace,” he said.

“You’d have to completely dry the lake again before you could work on it.”

A NSW Office of Water spokesperson said although council currently had zero general security water allocations, the lake could be filled using council’s outstanding allocations from previous years.

Coulton’s Catch-Up

MARK COULTON MP FEDERAL MEMBER FOR PARKES

25th July

The presence of mining coal and coal seam gas exploration in the Parkes Electorate has increased in recent years. A large section of my electorate has been identified as containing either coal or coal seam gas resources. While the potential for these resources is enormous, it is essential that this is balanced against the ongoing ability for this area to continue as a major food producer.

The communities of Bellata, Moree, Tooraweenah and Narrabri are facing significant exploration and development in coal seam gas. Many primary producers in these areas have contacted me regarding their concerns about the mining of coal seam gas. There is a lot of uncertainty of the risks associated with mining coal seam gas, especially in terms of agricultural productivity and the potential adverse effects on underground aquifers.

There is much misinformation circulating in these communities, and that combined with a lack of reliable information is adding to growing anxiety.

The Senate Committee for Rural Affairs and Transport is conducting an inquiry into the management of the Murray-Darling Basin and in particular the impact of mining coal seam gas in the Basin.

The inquiry will investigate the economic, social and environmental impact of mining coal seam gas and will focus on the sustainability of water, property rights of landholders, prime agricultural land, associated health impacts and impacts on regional communities.

This inquiry will provide the opportunity for people to raise their concerns and issues directly with the Government through written submissions and also public hearings that will be held by the committee in areas where coal seam gas exploration is taking place.

I have made a submission to the inquiry encouraging the committee to hold public forums in the communities of Narrabri and Tooraweenah. People in these areas have been looking for factual information in order to make reasonable and educated decisions in relation to water management, agriculture and coal seam gas.

I believe it would be useful for this committee to fully investigate any links between mining and coal seam gas activities with any possible adverse effects on underground aquifers. I also believe that an inquiry in these areas would enable the resource companies a forum to explain the extent of their proposed activities as well as giving local farmers an opportunity to voice their concerns.

I would strongly encourage any person that is concerned with the impact of mining coal seam gas to consider preparing a submission to the inquiry. The submissions are not required to be lengthy and I would suggest referring to the terms of reference below as a guide to structuring your submission.

Terms of Reference to address in your submission:

  • The Rural Affairs and Transport References Committee will examine the economic, social and environmental impacts of mining coal seam gas on:
  • the sustainability of water aquifers and future water licensing arrangements;
  • the property rights and values of landholders;
  • the sustainability of prime agricultural land and Australia’s food task;
  • the social and economic benefits or otherwise for regional towns and the effective management of relationships between mining and other interests; and
  • other related matters including health impacts.

MDBA socio-economic report released

Compiled by Dominic Geiger

The Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has recently released a report into how last year’s guide basin plan would have affected the socio-economic situations of communities if it had been implemented without review.

The report, which the MDBA describes as an “interesting retrospective on what would have been the impact of the guide on basin communities”, shows the guide could have put many irrigation dependent communities throughout the basin at risk.

A spokesperson for the MDBA said the report has allowed the organisation to provide a balanced starting point from which to approach water reform in the forthcoming Draft Basin Plan, which is due to be released later this month.

“I want to assure communities that although the report’s only just come out, the consultants worked closely with the Authority over the past few months to update us on their findings so that we could feed this information into our work on the draft.”

Among the at risk communities identified in the report are the Lachlan Shire towns of Condobolin and Lake Cargelligo.

According to the report, “[the two] towns are totally dependent on irrigated agriculture [and] there is a strong concern that reduced irrigation in the catchment will see [significant] population decline.”

“The remaining population will, to a large extent, be dependent on government support resulting in a significant level of disadvantage in the towns,” the report said.

NSW Farmers Association CEO, Matt Brand, said the report confirms the results of the Association’s own survey of basin residents.

“Our survey found one in every three farmers surveyed believe the Draft Plan could force them to exit agriculture, potentially closing the door on generations of farming history,” he said.

The Association also said it questioned how effective the report would be given the draft basin plan was due to be released at the end of this month.

“How can the community be confident the Authority will have the time to consider the findings of this report when it’s been released at the eleventh hour?” Mr Brand said.

“NSW Farmers is calling on the MDBA to heed the warnings of its own research, and work toward delivering a plan that will protect the social fabric of the Basin.

“Basin communities need a Plan that is flexible enough to adjust allocations – to farmers and the environment; to seasonal conditions.”

Lake Cargelligo suffers high fish mortality

Clockwise from left: A trail of bony bream on the shore of Lake Cargelligo, the line of dead fish still floating in the water and a pile of dead bream at Frogs Hollow.By Dominic Geiger

Approximately one thousand bony bream have been found dead on the banks of Lake Cargelligo over the past two weeks.

Many of the fish are still floating in the water, with a line of dead bream stretching for several hundred metres near the shore.

There are also a number of dead rats on the bank.

Though the cause of death is unknown, a NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) spokesperson said the fish most likely died as a result of the cold weather and the winter mortality of bony bream.

“Conservation staff from NSW DPI have taken samples of the dead fish and water to try to determine the cause of the fish kill,” the spokesperson said.

“NSW DPI is currently awaiting the results of [these tests].”

The majority of the fish range between five and ten centimetres and have been found in the area around Frogs Hollow.

Lake Cargelligo newsagent owner, Gus Blacker, said he was surprised at DPI’s response.

“I didn’t think the weather was cold enough here to significantly lower the temperature of the lake,” he said.

“A similar thing happened a couple of years ago and we [never found out] why they were dying.”

Gus said he had reported the dying fish to DPI last Thursday however he had encountered difficulty getting in touch with someone who actually knew where Lake Cargelligo was.

“The only number I could find was for Canberra, so I called that but the person I spoke to put me through to Goulburn,” he said.

“I tried to ask [that person] to put me through to Narrandera fisheries but they put me through to Cronulla.”

Gus also said he doubted anything would be done about the rotting fish left on the banks of the lake.

“It looks as though the fish will be left to go back to nature similar to what happened with the carp when the lake dried up,” he said.

Though The Argus attempted to contact Lachlan Shire Council in regards to the cleanup, they were unable to provide a response prior to this story going to print.

 

Council to replace water filtration plant

The Condobolin water treatment plant located on the Parkes Road. DG

By Dominic Geiger

Lachlan Shire Council has recently announced it will be either replacing or performing significant upgrades to the Condobolin water filtration plant.

The decision follows considerable community complaint regarding the ongoing poor taste and smell of council supplied town water.

In early February, a Lachlan Shire Council spokesperson told The Condobolin Argus the bad taste and smell of the water was “due to the [recent] flooding,” and it “should improve in coming weeks.”

Speaking after last week’s shire council meeting, Director of Technical Services at the council, Kevin Smith, said the filtration plant would see its renewal date of 2015/16 moved forward significantly.

“Council has made the decision to upgrade the filtration plant as a result of the poor quality of drinking water currently being distributed in Condobolin,” he said.

According to the book, ‘Condobolin, Where The Lachlan flows,’ the Condobolin water filtration plant, which currently stands on the Parkes Road, was built in 1941.

“The current plant does not have the ability to provide further treatment for the water we’ve been providing to the town,” Kevin said.

“Council needs to [perform an upgrade] in order to improve water quality.”

The plant will either be upgraded at its current location or completely replaced and moved to an as yet undecided site.

Jessica Do, who is currently in Condobolin on work experience from Wagga Wagga, said she had found a marked difference in the quality of water between the two towns.

“The first night I was here, I just didn’t drink any water even though I was thirsty; it’s that bad,” she said.

“I tried to boil it to get rid of the taste, but that didn’t work so I mask the taste with coffee or tea now.”

Condobolin resident, Ashleigh Marsden-Smedley, said the poor quality of the water had driven her to purchase her own home filtration jug.

“The [filtration jug] does make the water taste better, but it’s still not great,” she said.

“When we’ve gone to Orange we’ve noticed the water tastes better there.”

Funding for flood damage in LSC

Lachlan Shire Council has received a total of $4.97 million as a result of the RTA’s flood levy.

The money will be spent mostly on the worst affected roads of the Lachlan Shire, including those near Fifield, Tottenham and Lake Cargelligo.

Director of Technical Services, Kevin Smith, said Lachlan Shire Council had been incredibly successful in applying for the flood damage grant when compared to other NSW shires.

“We applied for funding as a result of two events; the floods in December in 2010 and a storm in March 2011,” he said.

“In total we applied for $6.1 million and received approximately 80%.

“Most other councils only received around 60% of the amount they applied for.”

Kevin said the RTA ultimately had the power to decide which roads were most damaged.

“When the storms and floods occurred, [shire] staff were notified to damaged roads by residents,” he said.

“Most of the damage occurred around Tottenham and Lake Cargelligo, though Condobolin also experienced some damage.

“We are now waiting to receive the details on which roads have been approved for the grant.”

Pipe dream becomes reality

The Merri Abba pipeline will ensure an emergency water supply for Lake Cargelligo in times of drought. Photo Gus BlackerBy Dominic Geiger

Construction on the long awaited Merri Abba water pipeline project is set to begin in the next few weeks following Lachlan Shire Council’s approval of a tender offer from Mitchell Water Australia pty ltd.

The project, which will guarantee an emergency supply of water for residents of Lake Cargelligo, Murrin Bridge and Tullibigeal, was approved for the tender amount of $12,760,393.

Director of Technical Services at the Lachlan Shire Council, Kevin Smith, said the project would cause minimal disturbances to local residents while it was underway.

“There will be 31 kilometres of high voltage electricity line and 300 millimetre diameter pipeline laid within the Hillston Road reserve over a period of several months, however appropriate traffic control will be in place during this time,” he said.

“We estimate the pipeline will be completed in early 2012.”

General Manager of the Lachlan Shire, George Cowan, said the project was critical for preserving a water supply for the Lake Cargelligo community.

“While there is water in Lake Cargelligo at the moment, and water systems are performing very effectively, it was only 18 months ago that the lake was dry and a water supply was in jeopardy,” he said.

“This project will guarantee water for the community and that security will allow for growth to occur in local businesses.”

Pest fish ‘Tilapia’ threaten Murray-Darling

Male and female TilapiaCompiled by Dominic Geiger

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is currently conducting a program to help educate communities in the Murray-Darling Basin about the potential threat of the invasive pest fish species, the Tilapia.

Though not yet established in NSW, the fish has been found in many waterways surrounding the northern part of the basin in south east Queensland.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Aquatic Biosecurity Officer, Debra Ballagh, said if the Tilapia was to establish itself in the Murray Darling Basin, it could become a major problem in the Lachlan River.

“Once established in a flowing river or creek, these fish are almost impossible to eradicate so it is important to stop the spread of Tilapia now before it’s too late,” she said.

“Tilapia impact on native fish numbers by competing for habitat and food, behaving aggressively, disturbing aquatic vegetation and could potentially introduce disease and parasites.

“The Murray-Darling Basin is already infested with pest fish including European carp, and if Tilapia were to establish in the river system the additional pest species may significantly impact native species populations.”

Debra said she encourages anyone living in the Murray-Darling Basin who suspects they have seen a Tilapia to contact the aquatic biosecurity hotline on 4916 3877 or send an e-mail to aquatic.pest@industry.nsw.gov.au.

 

Carp face casualties in Condobolin Cage

The carp cage trap is now in place to help eradicate carp from the Lachlan River system.By Dominic Geiger

A Condobolin business has been working with the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority (LCMA) recently to help eradicate carp from the Lachlan River system.
The trap, which was built by Condo Steel, will now be placed in Bumbuggan Creek, south east of Condobolin.
Condo Steel manager, David Salter, said the trap had been designed to exclusively trap carp and not native fish.
“Basically, it’s two cages,” he said.
“The first cage has a funnel in it (to allow the fish to enter) and the only way out is over a hurdle where the fish has to jump (into a second cage).
“Native fish are given to diving whereas carp are given to jumping and the initial trap is closed so the carp are forced to jump into a holding cage and that’s where they stay until the cage is attended to.
“The native fish that are waiting in the first cage are periodically released by an electric driver mechanism that allows them to escape out the bottom.”
NSW DPI Project Officer at Narrandera Fisheries Centre, Martin Asmus, said large numbers of adult carp will be captured in the cage in August and September, leading up to the spawning season.
“The cage installed at Bumbuggan Creek is the second cage to be put in the Lachlan River catchment, along with Island Creek near Condobolin,” he said.
“The cages are positioned on the exit gates of fishways used by native and exotic fish to move past weirs.
“A lot of research and development has been undertaken during construction of this second cage to fine tune its operation and maximise its catching ability.
“So far hundreds of thousands of carp have successfully been removed from the Lachlan catchment and plans are now in place to install a third carp separation cage at Booligal and possibly a fourth at Lake Cargelligo.”

West weir on agenda again in Condobolin

By Dominic Geiger

The Lachlan Shire Council is calling on interested community members to join the ‘Condobolin West Weir Committee’, following the passing of a motion to establish the group at last week’s council meeting.
The committee, which will be comprised of members of the public and various councillors, will aim to finally have a weir built on the Lachlan River to the west of Condobolin.
Lachlan Shire Councillor, Les Saunders, said although the weir was first suggested in 1986, he felt as though there was now enough support within the Lachlan Valley to see the project through to completion.
“There was a recent meeting with the Lachlan Valley Customer Service Committee at the Condobolin Agricultural Station that I attended as a councillor and the majority of people there supported the weir,” he said.
“The meeting was made up of people from all up and down the river and it was that committee who recommended the Lachlan Shire Council aim to form a similar committee.”
Les said the advantages of constructing the weir would be numerous.
“If we had the weir, irrigators could order water today and have it within two days time,” he said.
“It would also guarantee Condobolin’s water supply.
“Anyone who’s going to benefit from this project should join the committee.”
Mayor of the Lachlan Shire, Des Manwaring, said the weir would be a good alternative to securing the town’s water supply as opposed to drilling more bores.
“The weir would give the town in-river storage,” he said.
“It’s still early days yet however; we’ve only had the suggestion to form a committee.”

The Condobolin Argus – 10 years old

With The Condobolin Argus’ 10th birthday nearly upon us, first week of May, it seemed appropriate for a trip down memory lane to revisit some of the issues and events that have been critical in making The Argus the influential and relevant community newspaper it is today.
With so many editions archived in the depths of the Argus library, the task of revisiting important stories and campaigns seemed daunting at first, though with much perseverance, the team at The Argus has managed to compile a fairly concise list of ten achievements it feels have been most relevant to the Lachlan Shire community.
They are (in no particular order):
Joining the battle to keep the Condobolin Agricultural Research Station up and running.
In March 2009, The Argus reported on the NSW Labor Government’s decision to close the Condobolin Agricultural Research Station (CARAS). A surge of public protest culminating in a rally in Condobolin’s main street reversed that decision.
Helping prevent the closure of Target Country in Condobolin.
In January 2003, The Argus confirmed Condobolin Target Country would remain open despite pressure to close the store. The Argus supported the store during the resulting six month trial period through a ‘shop local’ campaign.
Helping to promote the Condobolin skate park project.
The Argus has been supporting the Condobolin skate park project for a number of years. The project is finally becoming a reality with the final draft becoming available for public comment following Lachlan Shire Council Meeting on 20th April.
Supporting the RTA’s ‘Three Shires’ initiative to help reduce the region’s road toll.
This project aims to increase road safety throughout the Lachlan, Forbes and Parkes shires. Part of this project has been the wheelie bin initiative, encouraging children to decorate wheelie bins in an effort to highlight road safety. The Argus played a large role in encouraging people to take part in this project, and now also has a very happy looking bin.
Providing full yet sensitive coverage of breaking news including human tragedies.
For example on the 2nd of December 2005, a ten-seater Piper Chieftain light plane crashed on Neil Baxter’s property ‘Craig End’. Unfortunately, the incident resulted in the loss of several lives and resulted in an Australian Transport Safety Bureau inquiry. The Argus printed continuous coverage of the incident from the crash to release of the inquiry.
Coverage of natural disasters.
The Argus has been instrumental in keeping the community aware of various fires and floods which have affected the region over the past ten years. With the real time news delivery available with the internet, The Argus can now deliver information to readers as soon as natural disasters unfold. This was most recently demonstrated during the floods in Ungarie last month.
Promotion of local tourism initiatives, particularly ‘Utes in the Paddock’.
Owing to the Argus’ commitment to improving tourism in the Lachlan Shire (and perhaps due to the fact our editor is one of the artists) Utes in the Paddock has become a ‘must see’ on any visitor’s to do list. Beginning in 2007, The Utes in the Paddock Project now includes 15 ute artworks and has been nominated for a NSW Heritage and Cultural Tourism Award and People’s Choice Tourist Experience Award.
Coverage of Aboriginal issues and events in the Lachlan Shire.
The Argus has strived to help ‘close the gap’ on Indigenous inequality though a focus on providing fair and unbiased reporting on events and issues important to the Wiradjuri community. The Argus has frequently reported positively on Aboriginal tourism, educational and employment initiatives.
Promotion of major events such as the Condo 750, Tattoo,  Condo B & S and our Australian Idol Shannon Noll.
The Argus has thrown its support behind various community oriented events over its ten year history. This promotion has been in the form of editorials, advertorials and extensive advertising features before, during and after events.
Support of local Charity Organisations
When major charity events and fundraisers happen in the Lachlan Shire, The Argus is always in the thick of the action, lending its promotional power to the event. Various charities and charitable organisations.

Support for Community much more than just words in a newspaper.
Born out of a large gathering of members from right across the community forming the view more could be done to promote our region, The Condobolin Argus actively pursues promotional opportunities in may different ways.
The paper looks to attract staff with high level skills and talents that offer its community additional benefits. One staff member worked tirelessly on submissions and promotion for the Professional Bull Riders event. That event attracting large crowds enhancing business for the local community. Yet another staff member successfully competed the local Show Girl promotion being awarded State Runner Up at the Royal Easter Show, thereby doing a magnificent job of promoting our region.
Focus for The Condobolin Argus is very firmly on assisting local community to promote itself, diligently managing advertisers funds to employ high level skills providing a holistic service. One portfolio sponsored by The Condobolin Argus in this way is that of ‘Community Promotions Officer’.
All of this has only been made possible by your strong support over the past ten years. Thank you for helping us to provide this service to our community.
To help your local community newspaper celebrate its 10th birthday and plan for many more, please drop on by the office at 93 Bathurst Street Condobolin during the first week of May -We’ll have some birthday cake.

Increase for Lachlan Valley GS Irrigators

Compiled By Jessica Symonds

NSW Water Commissioner David Harriss announced an increase of 9% in water allocations for Lachlan Valley general security irrigators last week.
General security irrigation applies to those farmers who use their allocation for pasture irrigation.
Mr Harriss said the increase in water availability had come as a result of significant inflows into Wyangala Dam and tributary flows further downstream of the dam.
“With inflows in the valley being above the long term average this year, general security licence holders are now able to access full allocations and can also look to setting water aside for use next year,” he said.
“The improvement has enabled an increase for general security licence holders to 117 per cent of entitlement.”
According to NSW Water, Wyangala Dam is currently at 92 percent capacity, holding 1,117,000 megalitres.
The dam peaked at 93% in mid-January and has averaged above 90% since December last year.
Mr Harriss also said the Water Sharing Plan for the Lachlan Valley, which has been suspended since 2004, will be recommenced on 1 July 2011.
According to the NSW Water website, the Water Sharing Plan for the Lachlan Regulated River Water Source includes rules relating to protecting the environment, water extractions, managing licence holders’ water accounts, and water trading in the plan area.
The plan includes Ivanhoe, Booligal, Hillston, Lake Cargelligo, Condobolin, Forbes, Parkes and Cowra and incorporates the Lachlan River system including Willandra Creek and Merrowie Creek.
The New South Wales Office of Water provides further information on water allocations and the reintroduction of the Water Sharing Plan at www.water.nsw.gov.au.

Centroc challenges national water commission’s report

By Dominic Geiger

Central NSW Councils (Centroc) has condemned a recently developed report from the National Water Commission, calling it a “diatribe against Councils providing water services in NSW.”
The report, titled ‘Urban Water In Australia: future directions’, calls for extensive reform to the way Councils manage water use in their shire.
Chair of the National Water Commission, Chloe Munro, said it was time for Australia’s governments to step back from direct intervention in urban water and give the industry incentives and freedom to innovate.
“‘There is ample scope for the industry to move away from its traditional focus on assets towards providing genuine consumer choice through more flexible, efficient and customer-driven products and services,” she said.
Chair of Centroc and Mayor of Forbes, Phyllis Miller, said the report made nonsense claims about the quality and pricing of council supplied water.
“The fact is we are delivering very well against other water service providers around the nation,” she said.
“We all know what happens when control over our utilities gets handed away from our communities; just look what happened with electricity.”
Lachlan Shire Councillor, Les Saunders, said the National Water Commission’s push to limit council’s involvement in supplying water to its residents was a step in the wrong direction.
“Council has to maintain its own water supply; it’s more practical being locally run,” he said.
“When the ability to manage water has been taken away from council, it’s not long before we have private enterprise creating a monopoly.
“Since 1990 when control of the water system was handed over to Lachlan Shire Council from Central Tablelands County Council it’s become efficient.
“Prior to 1990 no one had any say in what happened.
“Lachlan shire Council has a well organised run of all the water supplies in each of its towns.”

Carp Cull in Lake Cargelligo

By Dominic Geiger

A new carp eradication program is set to begin in Lake Cargelligo following successful trial operations both locally and in Tasmania.
The ‘Judas’ carp satellite tracking program will allow commercial fishermen to target large congregations of carp due to the pests’ tendency to form aggregations in warmer sections of the lake during winter.
I&I NSW Senior Fisheries Technician at Narrandera Fisheries Centre, Martin Asmus, said individual carp would be tagged using satellite tracking devices and then tracked until they formed a large school with other fish.
“The knowledge (gained from the electronically tagged carp’s movements) will hopefully maximise the efficiency of a commercial fisherman’s catch in terms of time and the amount of carp captured,” he said.
“I&I NSW is working closely with Lake Cargelligo Commercial fisher Keith Bell to track the movements of the electronically tagged carp.”
The new program builds on work undertaken since 2007 by a collaborative team to establish a demonstration site in the lower Lachlan catchment to trial and show-case carp control technologies developed by the Commonwealth funded Invasive Animals CRC.
Mr Asmus said it was impossible to guess at how many carp currently inhabit the Lachlan River system.
“Last September there would have been millions in Lake Cargelligo, now we believe there are tens of thousands,” he said.
“We hope to remove tonnes of carp from the lake every week with the new program.
“We’ll use the Judas system to primarily target carp in Lake Cargelligo, while using carp cages in other parts of the Lachlan.
“We have one near Condobolin at Island creek.
“These cages work based on the fact carp will jump out of the water if captured, whereas native fish won’t; the cage at the mouth of the Murray river averages about a tonne and a half per day.”

Wheeler’s Catch, Snap and Release Photo Competition

Ross Wheeler with his prized catch. John Wheeler submitted this photo as an example of the quality he will be looking for in the photos entered in the Catch, Snap and Release Photo Competition.By Jessica Symonds and Dominic Geiger

Get hooked on fishing this Easter with Wheeler’s Foodworks Catch, Snap and Release Fishing Photo Competition.
The competition, organised by John Wheeler of Wheeler’s Foodworks, and proudly supported by The Condobolin Argus, will be looking for the best photo taken of a fish and will run over the Easter holiday period.
John said he had organised the competition to encourage more people to form an interest in fishing.
“I know there are already a lot of anglers around Condobolin, so this competition is a way to not only encourage more people to take up the sport more seriously, but also to give those people who are already keen anglers an opportunity to win some prizes,” he said.
John said he thinks ‘catch and release’ is important in the conservation of our native fish, and to insure that there will be plenty of quality fish to be caught in the future.
“By all means take a fish to eat when the occasion calls for it providing it’s a legal catch, the choice is yours,” he said.
“It would just be good to see people thinking more about the future and a photo of a nice fish is a smarter and better looking way to show off your catch.
“Children are encouraged to snap a good photo of themselves with a fish, and then release it safely back into the water system.
“It also gives kids the opportunity to do something fun during the day, especially during the school holidays.
“The competition is also open to those with recently taken photographs from the past as everyone won’t have the chance to get out on the river.”
John said the competition would be judged on the quality and inventiveness of the photos, rather than how big the catch is.
He said this meant the winning entry could even be a photo of a carp.
“Even the smallest fish could win the competition, depending upon how great the snap is,” he said.
“Photo entries will be displayed in the shop, near the fishing tackle.
“It gives everyone a chance to see what’s been caught, and something for them to talk about.”
Entrants have the chance to win a great range of prizes including lures and spinnerbaits from businesses such as Australian Crafted Lures, Outlaw Spinnerbaits, Viking Lures and Mud Guts Spinnerbaits.
“I’m also willing to match the prices of other bigger fishing stores, including the internet, on products in stock and on special orders by request,” John said.
The Catch, Snap and Release Fishing Photo Competition will be running from Monday, 11th April 2011 to Monday, 2nd May 2011. Entrants of any age are invited to take part in the competition.

River stakeholders meet with MDBA Chairmen

By Dominic Geiger

Stakeholders representing various communities along the Lachlan River met with the Murray Darling Basin Authority Chairman Craig Knowles as he toured the region on Monday March 28.
Mr Knowles and the various representatives, which included mayors, landowners and Aboriginal groups, boarded a bus in Forbes which took them to a dairy farm east of the town.
Mayor of the Lachlan Shire Des Manwaring said Mr Knowles listened closely to the concerns voiced during the bus trip and at the farm.
“He said it was a fact finding mission for him; he was trying to get his head around the issues of the Lachlan River,” he said.
“He told us he had no pre-conceived views on what should be done here.
“The main thing (the stakeholders) told him was that the Lachlan is a closed system; it very rarely flows into the Murrumbidgee at all.”
Mary Ewing, Executive Officer at Lachlan Valley Water, said the Lachlan River flowed into a large marshland area which was usually cut off from the Murray Darling system.
“The Lachlan ends in the Great Cumbung Swamp near Oxley,” she said.
“The only time the river joins the Murrumbidgee is during a major flood.”
Des said the consensus amongst the stakeholders was that too much water had already been ‘bought back’ from the Lachlan and the tougher water allocation allowances had placed social and economic burdens on Lachlan River communities.
“There has been almost no water for ten years with the drought and people are just starting to recover,” he said.
“The Mayor of (The Carrathool Shire) got the point across that growth had slowed in Hillston since the water allocations were reduced in the town.
“Towns are on a limited supply of water as it is and we’re trying to entice people from Sydney to move here; there’s no way we’ll be able to do that if our water allocation is cut.”

© 2010 Condobolin Argus - Design by Upside Down Websites