HOPES of enlarging Buffalo Dam have been dashed by both state and federal government announcements in the past two weeks.
The Federal Government has excluded expansion of the lake in its national dams plan, while the State Government last week confirmed it would pursue underground bores, and not an enlarged dam, to ensure water security for Wangaratta.
Victorian Water Minister Peter Walsh said the 18 month, $1 million investigation had finally ruled out the possibility of expanding Lake Buffalo’s capacity to meet Wangaratta’s domestic water demand.
He said the financial aspect ($15 million for additional groundwater bores versus $80 million for enlargement of Buffalo, and rising prices for irrigators) and predicted efficiency meant groundwater was the best option.
The decision has been backed by local independent federal member Cathy McGowan (MHR, Indi) and the Nationals’ Tim McCurdy (MLA, Murray Valley) who is seeking to win the Ovens seat at next month’s state election.