Environmental group flushed with success after Lake Ewlyamartup channel gates close for winter

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Tom ShanahanGreat Southern Herald
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Flooding gate closing in action
Camera IconFlooding gate closing in action

The flushing channel gates at Lake Ewlyamartup have closed for winter.

After a decade-long campaign by the Katanning community to improve the water quality at the lake, a 2.7km artificial flushing channel enabling better management of the water in the fresh-water lake was installed last year as part of the $3.7 million Living Lakes project.

The Lake Ewlyamartup Working Group has been regularly monitoring the water flowing in and out of the lake since the Ewlyamartup Creek started flowing earlier this autumn.

“We aim to close the gate at a time when the water quality coming into the lake has settled down, and with still enough of winter left to allow the lake to hopefully fill up by the remaining rainfall,” working group member Greg Garlick said.

Greg Garlick, left, and Sheldon Garlick closing the Lake Ewlyamartup flushing channel.
Camera IconGreg Garlick, left, and Sheldon Garlick closing the Lake Ewlyamartup flushing channel. Credit: supplied/supplied

Lake Ewlyamartup’s water quality has steadily declined since the 1990s as agriculture and other land practices around the lake have increased the build-up of nutrients and salt in the lake.

“The principle of the flushing channel is that we open it in autumn-early winter, allowing the summer build-up of salt and poor quality run-off from the first few rains of the season to exit the lake,” Katanning Landcare’s Ella Maesepp said. “Then we close it, letting the lake fill naturally for the remainder of the winter with the better quality water.”

Mrs Maesepp reminded residents while the flushing channels better monitored water quality, the lake could only be as good as the water coming into it.

“With Ewlyamartup fed with run-off from both Broomehill and Katanning towns, and the farmland in between, it’s everyone’s responsibility to look after that water,” Ms Masepp said. “Planting trees, fencing off creek lines, picking up litter and after your dog, and washing your car on the lawn are all ways we can help.”

The flushing channel extends from the north east side of Lake Ewlyamartup, through a controlled gate.
Camera IconThe flushing channel extends from the north east side of Lake Ewlyamartup, through a controlled gate.

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