GREG'S LEGACY

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Sykes says O’Kane Mokoan comments misleading

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Nationals Member for Benalla, Bill Sykes, has criticised recent comments by Mr Bill O’Kane, CEO of Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (GBCMA) on the impact of decommissioning of Lake Mokoan on the flood risks to Benalla as being misleading and incomplete.

Dr Sykes said, “No one questions that the channel capacity of 2,400 ML per day has limited impact on diverting water during significant flood events such as 1993.

“However, what Mr O’Kane fails to mention is the role of Mokoan to store water released from Lake Nillahcootie between heavy rainfall events in order to have an air space of 10,000 – 30,000 ML capacity to store run off during heavy rainfall.

“Mr Frank Rankin, Weir keeper of Lake Nillahcootie from 1970-1992, is adamant that he managed Lake Nillahcootie to keep air space available between June and November each year.”

Dr Sykes continued, “This public debate can be brought to an end if Mr O’Kane makes available to public scrutiny the operational guidelines, actual inflows, outflows and weir levels for the period 1970-1992.

“This information needs to be in sufficient detail to relate weir management to flood events in Benalla.

Dr Sykes said that two other outstanding points of the Lake Mokoan debate can be also easily resolved by the Government Departments cooperating with the local community.

“The community wants an independent assessment of the current level of security of supply of water which the Government says is 85% whereas irrigators say it is 97%.

“Similarly, the irrigators are seeking access to Goulburn Murray Water’s modelling and engineers to further evaluate their alternative to full decommissioning. The irrigators are confident that the Government’s water savings objectives can be met at less cost with better environmental outcomes – surely a win/win situation.”

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Written by Greg Naylor

27 March 2007 at 2:38 pm

Posted in media release

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