LAKE Wendouree looks set to be full well before the Ballarat City Council's timeframe of September next year.In just four days this week, the depth of the lake rose by 4.5cm. It is now just 125cm below full.A combination of water from the Gong Gong Reservoir, the Ballarat North Treatment Plant, Redan Wetlands and rainfall have contributed to the large inflow of water into the city icon. In coming weeks the council will assess the lake's safety to determine whether people can return to moderate recreational use of the lake, including canoeing and non-motorised boats.A quicker fill of the lake may see the water-based sports like rowing, return sooner. The rowing fraternity in Ballarat is hoping to bid for major national and international events in the near future.Lake Wendouree had been officially declared dry in December 2006. In recent years, the council has been working on several refilling projects, including stormwater harvesting and treated water. A $1.3 million state government grant was also announced earlier this year to provide 1700 megalitres of water to the lake from the Ballarat West bore field.Acting director of infrastructure with the Ballarat City Council, Ian Rossiter, said 800 megalitres of water was sitting on the lake as surface water, while a further 900 megalitres was sitting as sediment. The lake holds a capacity of 3500 megalitres.Mr Rossiter said predicted high rainfalls in winter and spring, coupled with low evaporation rates were encouraging signs of quicker-than-expected rises in the lake level.The council had estimated the lake would be full by September next year, but Mr Rossiter said this predicted timeframe was going on the conservative rainfall and evaporation levels of the last nine years.Ballarat City councillor John Philips said he was pleased to see the birdlife returning to the lake."It's really good to see the swans back at the lake," Cr Philips said."I am also pleased the work the council has been doing over a long period of time finally producing some results. This will help to reinstate the water sports at the lake. The return of events, such as rowing, will help the city's economy."Cr Philips said he hoped to see the return of the Head of the Lake regatta to Lake Wendouree soon after years of being held at Nagambie at Geelong.The lake's water quality will be monitored each month to ensure the supply from the Ballarat West bore will not be detrimental to the lake's environment.
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