The sad looking Bellview Reservoir, which is the main reservoir for Korumburra. The reservoir was overflowing for months last year, but no longer has the capacity to cater for Korumburra if there’s a dry summer.
SOUTH Gippsland Water is now supplementing its Korumburra reservoirs with groundwater due to slower flows in the Tarwin River. The move comes as Eastern Victoria MP, Labor’s Matt Viney has called on the State Government to fund the $20 million pipe connection from the Lance Creek reservoir and the desal plant to SGW’s northern towns including Korumburra, Loch, Nyora, Poowong and Leongatha. “Due to the dry start to 2013 and few significant rain events, the Tarwin River is flowing at around 60 to 70ML per day, far below the flow rates required for South Gippsland Water to take a supplementary supply,” South Gippsland Water managing director Philippe du Plessis said. Under the corporation’s Bulk Entitlement Order for the Tarwin River, South Gippsland Water is required to ensure that river flows are maintained. Under the order for the period between May to November each year, South Gippsland Water may not take water from the Tarwin unless the river is flowing at a rate of at least 100ML per day. “The region is in need of significant rains to revive river flows and inject some much needed run-off into the corporation’s catchments. “As a result, South Gippsland Water will augment the supplementary supply for Korumburra with groundwater extracted from the corporation’s bore at Racecourse Road, Leongatha.” He said this bore is expected to yield 0.5ML per day. As with the Tarwin River water, the groundwater will be extracted and pumped to Korumburra’s reservoirs where it will be treated by the township’s Water Treatment Plant; as a result, Mr du Plessis said there should be no noticeable difference in the water. The water storages for Korumburra comprise of three reservoirs fed by the Coalition Creek. Korumburra’s storages have been maintained at around 35 per cent capacity since supplementary supplies began in March 2013. “With the corporation pumping in the region of 2 to 2.5ML per day from the Tarwin River and the township cutting back their water use, storages were able to be held steady,” Mr du Plessis said. “The supplementary supply will now consist of 0.5ML per day provided by ground water and the Tarwin River only when passing flows exceed 100ML per day. “As such, South Gippsland Water is urging all customers of Korumburra to reduce water use where possible. “The corporation will review storages each week with regards to activating Stage 3 Water Restrictions.” Mr Viney has called on the Gippsland South MP and Deputy Premier Peter Ryan to come up with the $20 million for the pipe link in today’s State Budget. “If Mr Ryan does not fund the $20 million pipe that South Gippsland Water is asking or to connect these towns to the Lance Creek reservoir and the Melbourne supply system, the consequences will be dire.” He said the previous Labor Government had connected Wonthaggi, Cape Paterson and Inverloch to the Melbourne water grid, securing their supply. “The previous Labor Government invested the money to secure the water supply to these towns to support the rapid growth expected in the coming years. “It’s now in Mr Ryan’s hands as to whether he continues that work to prevent Korumburra, Leongatha and surrounding towns from facing a drought they don’t have to have,” he said. Mr Viney said that it was not unreasonable for people in South Gippsland to seek a secure water supply and to be given a timeline of when that will happen. “Mr Ryan is in charge of the government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund. “It is not unreasonable for the people of South Gippsland to expect their local member to spend just $20 million of that fund to secure their water supply for the next 50 years,” Mr Viney said.