LAKE Canobolas is shaping up as the key battleground for Orange’s $92 million water plan, with a “water war” triggered by the controversial pipeline proposal.
One Cabonne councillor is so unhappy with Orange City Council’s plan to empty the lake up to three times a year that he has suggested Orange hand over ownership of Lake Canobolas to Cabonne Council.
Despite assurances by Orange Mayor John Davis the lake would be used as an “absolute last resort option”, Cabonne Deputy Mayor Kevin Duffy said he had major concerns about a $3.17 million dollar plan to connect Lake Canobolas to the Orange water supply grid.
“The first issue is that in order for them to take out the amount of water they want each year, the lake will be drained three times a year and who knows what impact that will have on the lake,” Cr Duffy said.
“But my primary concern is for the downstream users who feel they have been trodden on.”
A lot of property owners and businesses rely heavily on downstream water that the lake currently provides them.”
The Central Western Daily understands it has been suggested that Cabonne Council investigates options to purchase Lake Canobolas in order to secure water for Molong and other downstream users.
Cr Duffy said that such a proposal was something he was not aware of and declined to comment on behalf of Cabonne Council.
“Well, I can’t speak for council in regards to that because that kind of decision would have to be made by the whole council if we made that approach or if such an offer was made,” he said. “But what I would say, personally, is that one must remember how Orange came to acquire the lake in the first place. If anything they should give it back to us,” Cr Duffy said in reference to a previous agreement reached during council amalgamations in the 1970s.
Councillor Jeremy Buckingham also entered the Lake Canobolas debate yesterday and said he would move an amendment on Thursday evening to have the Lake Canobolas pipeline scrapped.
“I would rather see the money from the pipeline be put into a far greater expansion of the stormwater harvesting initiative, which requires greater emphasis than what is outlined under the current proposal,” Cr Buckingham said.
“That would also ensure no adverse impact on downstream users of the lake.”