Lake Buffalo, in north east Victoria, was built in 1965 as a 24GL dam as the first stage of a much bigger project.
The Victorian Government owns the surrounding land because it was originally intended Lake Buffalo would be expanded to become a 1000GL storage, known as Big Buffalo.
The Victorian Nationals are urging the Andrews Government to refer the project to the Federal Government for investigation.
The Federal Nationals have set aside
to build new water infrastructure
Daniel Andrews and Lisa Neville have rejected all calls for new dams.
The lake currently holds just six per cent of the Buffalo River’s average annual flow, previous investigations into constructing a larger dam were deemed infeasible due to the cap placed on new extractions across the Southern Basin in the late 1990s.
We believe there is an opportunity to examine Big Buffalo with a view to securing the reliability of existing entitlements, instead of creating new irrigation licences.
The original plans for Big Buffalo were to connect it to Lake Nillahcootie on the Broken River.
The dam could be developed as a tri-state agreement to benefit all entitlement holders in Victoria, NSW and South Australia.
It would reduce the system’s reliance on Lake Victoria (in New South Wales), saving up to 130GL of water which is currently being lost each year through evaporation.
A tri-state agreement is not without precedent. In the 1960s South Australia proposed to build a dam at an inefficient site at Chowilla. The idea was eventually shelved when the states instead decided to build Dartmouth Dam in North-East Victoria instead, giving South Australia access to storage at a deeper, more efficient site.
The Premier says “dams don’t make it rain”. We are inclined to think that kegs don’t brew beer either but they’re pretty handy at holding it.
At a time when leading climate experts are predicting heavier rainfall events and longer dry periods, doing nothing isn't an option.
We can’t allow Daniel Andrew’s irrational and short-sighted inner city ideology stand in the way of a strong future for our farmers and our environment.
Other states are already making bids for the Federal Government’s $3.5 billion for new water infrastructure but Victoria is missing out because of Daniel Andrews and Lisa Neville.