Like much of NSW, our area is sadly in serious drought and no significant rain is in sight.
Many local water catchments are affected, some quietly but perhaps most publicly the Lake Cathie/Lake Innes estuarine system, which includes the much beloved Lake Cathie lagoon - playground for many families. The problems gained publicity earlier this year with two fish kills, water levels dropping and massive sand build-up. A community group - Revive Lake Cathie - formed and strenuously lobbied council for action.
Council declined to adopt any of their specific recommendations immediately. But, I'd like to congratulate the Revive group for stimulating what is shaping to be a coordinated approach by many government agencies to seriously address the big structural issues affecting the lakes system.
The first and most urgent problem is lack of rain, which of course no amount of human effort or money can fix. The second problem is lack of coordinated management to date, with at least three NSW agencies plus council each having responsibility for part of the estuarine system (lake bed, lake body, lake surface, lake entrance), but none having overall control.
The third problem is the 1933 opening of the enormous, previously freshwater, Lake Innes to join the more saline estuary. That opening appears to have had significant impact on tidal flushing in the system, weakening tidal power and encouraging sand buildup. There have been many historical studies looking into the benefits or otherwise of re-closing Lake Innes, many concluding it should be closed, but for various reasons that action was never taken.
On a motion by Cr Hawkins, council recently convened an all-agency meeting which I found hugely encouraging. It identified a path forward for better collaboration and very likely revisiting the re-closing of Lake Innes.
Cr Intemann's stories from a civic heart are her opinions and not necessarily those of council.