A Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government will investigate an expansion of water storages in Victoria’s north-east to provide greater water security for Wangaratta and the surrounding district.
Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan made the announcement while launching the campaign of The Nationals Candidate for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy in Wangaratta today.
Mr Ryan said a Coalition Government would spend $500,000 on a detailed feasibility study investigating an expansion of either Lake Buffalo or Lake William Hovell.
“If elected to government in November, the Coalition will look to increase the capacity of either of these dams to improve security of water supply for Wangaratta and surrounding communities such as Glenrowan, Milawa, Oxley, Myrtleford and Greta,” Mr Ryan said.
“In line with the Murray Darling Basin agreement, the Coalition will not increase extractions from the Buffalo, Ovens and King rivers, but we will ensure that these towns have greater security of supply.”
Mr McCurdy said the irony of the September floods, which occurred just two and a half years after Wangaratta almost ran out of water, had not been lost on the Coalition.
“It makes sense to investigate the option of increasing the storage capacity of either Buffalo or William Hovell,” Mr McCurdy said.
“Wangaratta and towns in the Ovens and King valleys came very close to running out of water in 2007 after the Brumby Government failed to plan for their long-term water needs.
“This announcement is a huge win for the region which has been fighting for improved water security for many years.”
Mr McCurdy said the first stage of the Lake Buffalo Dam was completed in 1965, but the original plan to create a much larger storage was never completed.
“The capacity of Lake Buffalo represents just six per cent of the average annual flow of the Buffalo River,” Mr McCurdy said.
“The Coalition’s commitment to secure the water supplies of Wangaratta and the region through investigating an expansion of one of these two dams will ensure towns in our region continue to grow and prosper,” Mr McCurdy said.