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Shire aims at payout over lakes ‘stuff-up’

WENTWORTH Shire will demand compensation from the NSW Government over the Menindee Lakes scheme “stuff-up”, which has threatened to leave Pooncarie dry.

The shire would be responsible for providing water to a number of landowners in the Pooncarie district at great expense if their supply ran out.

While the NSW Office ofWater will make a contribution, the shire will truck drinkingwater to Pooncarie township as well as properties that have no access to stock and domestic supply.

Minister for Water and Western NSW Kevin Humphries admitted the Menindee Lakes had been mismanaged at a recent meeting of councils in Condobolin, according to Cr Don McKinnon.

“We’re asking for an apology. (The minister) did agree it was a stuff-up,” he said.

The Darling River is expected to stop flowing during the latter half of this year.

Cr McKinnon said answers were needed on future management of water along the Darling, including supply to Broken Hill.

A spokesperson for Mr Humphries said: “The minister is working to strengthen the tri-state agreement to deliver the best outcomes for all affected stakeholders, including the people of Broken Hill and the Menindee region.”

A major infrastructure report released in November recommended constructing a pipeline from the Murray River to supply the Silver City.

The pipeline, which will cost NSW several hundred million dollars, would likely begin near Lock 9 and could spell the end of management of the Menindee Lakes.

“We’re concerned if it goes back to natural flow towns like Pooncarie will have no water at all,” Cr McKinnon said.

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