THE City Of Greater Bendigo could be hit with a $35,000 water bill to top-up a dwindling Crusoe Reservoir ahead of what is expected to be a long, hot summer.
The water storage is at approximately 37 per cent capacity, and needs to be replenished to at least 50 per cent before summer so that users can continue to make the most of its cooling waters.
While rainfall during the past three months has been slightly above average, Crusoe Reservoir’s declining level has prompted calls for a top-up to boost storage levels.
City of Greater Bendigo Parks and Open Space manager Paul Gangell said this cost needs to be considered against other demands for water across the city.
“The city acknowledges the many different groups and individuals that use the site, particularly through the warmer months and is working with Coliban Water to secure water for the coming summer season if required,” Mr Gangell said.
Owner operator of Stillwater Paddleboards and avid water user Lola Makar said the reservoir is an asset to the city, but unless the community uses it, she can understand the hesitancy in committing money to increase water levels.
“The community needs to get involved and say they’re going to use the reservoir,” Ms Makar said.
“This is thrown back on the community and if we want these great facilities, then we have to use them,” she said.
If the water levels continue to drop, the reservoir is at risk of becoming untenable for long distance swimmers, canoers and paddle boarders.
“It’s not fun to go around in circles. Once the water gets too shallow, it reduces the area that can be used,” Ms Makar said.
A decision to not replenish water to the reservoir could have impacts on the health and wellbeing of its current users, Ms Makar said.
“If you stop an activity, people might lose their motivation to do an exercise because the environment isn’t appropriate for them,” she said.
Council has said it will continue to monitor the water levels until early spring to determine if water is required for the coming summer.
Upcoming events at the Crusoe Reservoir include the Goldfields Cross Triathlon on Saturday, November 23, with a swimming leg integral to the event.
Crusoe Reservoir is part of a 210-hectare area surrounded by the Greater Bendigo National Park and is frequented by water users, joggers, walkers, cyclists and anglers
– NICHOLAS NAKOS