NSW lake region running dry
Change is on the way for NSW’s Menindee lakes region, with locals worried about their future.
The Menindee chain of lakes have served as a storage system for the Darling River, holding water primarily to supply the town of Broken Hill and nearby cotton grower Tandou.
But some of these major dependents are moving away, leaving many to wonder what will happen to the lakes and the town of Menindee.
The operators of the Lake Tandou cotton farms have announced a change in focus, which will see the property's water rights sold back to the Federal Government.
This comes after the NSW Government last year announced that Broken Hill’s water will no longer be derived from the lakes, as it has been for decades.
So with the pipeline no longer needed and the cotton farms changing tack, it is not clear how much water will be sent to Menindee.
Karen Page, president of the Menindee Regional Tourism Association, says what little industry the town has left would dwindle if the lakes dry up.
“It's a huge concern, because we 100 per cent rely on tourists now,” Ms Page told the ABC.
“Our area has lost all our growers, we've just been informed that our cotton farm here have sold their water entitlements back to the government.
“So we are extremely concerned about the future of our town.”
Locals say visitors particularly like the birds that the lakes attract, but with bird numbers in decline too, their fate is equally unclear.
Menindee locals are now waiting to find out what the Federal Government plans to do with Tandou's water licence.