Wallaga Lake awash with concerns, opening trigger level not yet reached

High water levels in Wallaga Lake washing debris into backyards at Beauty Point and Fairhaven have prompted calls to Bega Valley Shire Council asking when the lake might be opened.

Water levels have however not reached the trigger level for the council to take action and the strong westerly winds of the past week have also contributed, making the lake seem higher.

Wallaga Lake resident Krysia St Clair on the weekend posted a photo of debris along the lake edge that was pushed by the recent ferocious winds.

“Trees are waterlogged and many will not survive,” she wrote. “The fire pit had waves crashing over the rim. A small lull to just capture this shot. Then the roar came back with a vengeance.”

Rita and Cliff Tarrant of Beauty Point are also asking if there was any news of when it is proposed to open Wallaga Lake to the sea again.

“The water is  now so high that many walkways and access places are now closed or too dangerous to drive or walk along,” they said.

“Typically Aquamarine Circuit and the access from Akolele via the bridge. Also, now the the boardwalk on to the headland past the shelter is now been washed away and access to the headland has been lost.”

The Tarrants also asked if the Wallaga Lake boardwalk was going to be replaced, and the good news is the council is planning on rebuilding the boardwalk using the natural disaster recovery funds available through the NSW government.

Regarding the current high water levels in Wallaga Lake, the council’s coastal management officer, Kyran Crane said the trigger point to open the lake was when water reached 1.25m as measured at Regatta Point.

The water level was currently just under 1.1m, so there was a little way to go before an excavator would be brought in to open the lake artificially. 

“We have been getting several phone calls. The lake has been open for so long that people are not used to seeing the lake levels so high,” Mr Crane said.

The council did have the authority to preemptively open the lake if significant rainfall was forecast, he said.

In other lake-related news, the new Coastal Management Program (CMPs) currently being developed for Wallaga Lake is about 50 per cent complete and the council was looking at holding a public information session by the end of the year to get public input. 

The key objective of the CMP is to support the ecological health of the estuaries and catchments while supporting community uses and values, he said.

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