THE hosting of two state yachting events could be in jeopardy if Lake Wendouree’s water levels drop any lower.
Ballarat Yacht Club commodore Paul Crosbie said yesterday there was “real concern” the two titles could be moved back to Melbourne after a hot summer and little rainfall has caused the lake’s levels to reduce to 275 millimetres below full.
Groundwater from the Central Highlands Water Ring Road bore is being bought to help top the lake up but Mr Crosbie said the future of both events was uncertain.
They include the Access Dingy State Titles on February 23 and 24 and the Jubilee Class State Titles on March 9 and 10.
“It is quite a coup for us to get the state titles because they are normally held in Melbourne,” Mr Crosbie said.
He said the Ballarat Yacht Club was trying to rebuild its former 350 member base after the drought and the titles would help promote the club both locally and within the wider yachting fraternity.
“It is critical for our development to attract members so we want to put on the best events we can.
“If the lake’s water level drops any further, we’d have to consider cancelling the events which we’d be very reluctant to do.
“You can’t sail a boat if the keel is scraping the bottom of the lake.
“It’s not only Victorian boats that will be travelling from Brighton and Sorrento, there are also boats coming from as far as Sydney.”
Mr Crosbie said people sailing last weekend said they had hit weed so it was already starting to inhibit sailing now.
“If the water level doesn’t increase there’s a very real chance one or both of these events could be pulled.
“It would set us back but we’re very optimistic and hoping it rains.”
Mr Crosbie said just 25 millimetres of rain would lift the lake’s water levels enough.
“If the council’s plan is only to keep the lake wet rather than functional, then lake users might have to start rethinking their calendars.”
A Ballarat City Council spokesperson said yesterday Council was contacted by the Ballarat Yacht Club early this month with regard to lake weed harvesting ahead of the events in February and March, but the issue around water levels was not discussed.
“We will make contact with the Yacht Club to discuss any concerns about lake water levels.”