Review, refresh, renew and reimagine

We are reviewing the way Freshwater Lake (also known as the Delfin Island duck ponds) on Delfin Island at West Lakes operates and exists. Freshwater Lake is located within Freshwater Lake Reserve.

As yet, no investigations or decisions have been made on the Lake’s long-term future.

Freshwater Lake was constructed in the 1970s as a key water feature of the West Lakes Delfin Island Development. It was built to the standards of that era and now requires a high level of ongoing maintenance due to its unique design, structure and age.

Given the high level of ongoing maintenance needed and the resources this requires, we are doing work to review how we are managing this site now and into the future. This includes the identification of short and long-term costs and potential maintenance planning requirements.

This review will commence in 2022 to look at engineering solutions and management considerations for the lake. From this, Council anticipates it will be in a position to identify and assess options for Freshwater Lake and Reserve, this process will include community consultation.

Freshwater facts

Freshwater Lake - options being examined

At this stage it is too early to say exactly what options might be feasible, but what we can say is that we will outline each option (once the review has taken place), highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each, and consult in a constructive way with our community. Here are the four options being examined:

This option proposes to continue to operate Freshwater Lake as we currently do. This option requires the lake to be drained and de-sludged (de-watered and cleaned). The desludging operation is conservatively estimated to cost around $600,000 . This desludging operation is an ongoing requirement of lake management (approximately every 10 years).

De-sludging is necessary to remove the build-up of nutrient containing sediments and improve the overall water quality of the lake. As sludge builds up over time, it reduces the amount of water above this sludge layer, making the water body above more shallow and more prone to warming and greening.

Desludging alone will not provide a permanent improvement to water quality. It will provide a limited improvement for approximately 5-10 years, depending on the prevailing conditions.

This option does not address lake seepage (leaking), water circulation issues, high evaporation, treating the bottom of the lake to make future de-sludging easier and more effective, or reviewing the source of water for filling the lake (currently drawn from groundwater).

This option proposes to continue to operate Freshwater Lake as we currently do but with improvements to permanently enhance lake performance and quality, operations and management. This option requires the lake to be drained and de-sludged. The desludging operation is conservatively estimated to cost around $600,000. This desludging operation is an ongoing requirement of lake management and with improvements to lake performance and quality, operation and management, this may occur less frequently than every 10 years.

De-sludging is necessary to remove the build-up of nutrient containing sediments and improve the overall water quality of the lake. As sludge builds up over time, it reduces the amount of water above this sludge layer, making the water body above more shallow and more prone to warming and greening.

Desludging alone will not provide a permanent improvement to water quality. It will provide a limited improvement for approximately 5-10 years, depending on the prevailing conditions.

Maintaining the lake in its current form but with improvements to permanently enhance lake performance and quality, operations and management will also need to consider:

  • Means of making long-term improvements to water quality and fix the leaks to the lake.
  • Treating the bottom of the lake to make future de-sludging easier and more effective.
  • Addressing poor water circulation.
  • Reviewing the source of water for filling the lake (currently drawn from groundwater).
  • Managing aquatic plant and animal life, including controlling carp.

This option would explore and examine a differently-engineered lake, or a vegetated wetland, or a series of smaller water bodies with bigger green areas or reducing the overall lake “footprint”.

This option would look at:

  • Changes to the lake design and structure and re-engineering required.
  • Means of making long-term improvements to water quality and fix the leaks to lake.
  • Treating the bottom of the lake to make future de-sludging easier and more effective.
  • Addressing poor water circulation.
  • Reviewing the source of water for filling the lake (currently drawn from groundwater).
  • Managing aquatic plant and animal life, including controlling carp.
  • Considering the design opportunities for the open space created by reducing the lake area, shape or size.

This option proposes to remove the water body and make the entire reserve terrestrial (land-based) open space.

This option would look at:

  • Decommissioning the lake and the engineering and environmental processes involved in doing so.
  • Considering the design opportunities for the open space created by removing the lake area.
  • Developing concepts for the creation of higher amenity open space (“botanic-garden style”) that could be used for a range of purposes such as weddings, environmental education, picnics, play, respite and reflection.

When will you consult on options?

As yet, no investigations or decisions have been made on the Lake's long-term future.

Community engagement about options is anticipated to occur in mid 2022 once we are in a position to understand the advantages and disadvantages of options in terms of social, environmental, economic, and constructability (ease of construction) factors.

We understand that Freshwater Lake and Reserve is incredibly important to our community. Our intention is to be open and transparent in this process. We want our community to be fully informed of the options being explored, and we encourage everyone to have a say.

Become involved in this project

  • Click on the + Follow button

    To receive project updates, click the + Follow button at the top of this page.

  • Add your comments

    Go to the blue box at the bottom of this page and tell us what you love or want to change about Freshwater Lake Reserve.

What does Freshwater Lake mean to you?

Consultation on options is planned for mid 2022, in the meantime we would like to gather your thoughts about Freshwater Lake (comments can be about the lake and the reserve generally).

Post your comments in the blue box below, pick a category and add your comments (don't forget to say why this is important to you). Your can also add a photo or short video. Here are the four categories:

  1. What I love about Freshwater Lake Reserve.
  2. What I want to see more of at Freshwater Lake Reserve.
  3. What I want to see less of at Freshwater Lake Reserve.
  4. What I want to change about Freshwater Lake Reserve.

To get you started, here are a few examples:

  • I love watching the ducks swim around the lake, it is so relaxing.
  • I want to see more shade trees in the reserve as this will make the area feel cooler.
  • I want to see less algae in the lake, this will help reduce the smell.
  • I like to picnic in the park with my family.

Add as many comments as you wish, and you can also 'like' or comment on other people's posts.

Your comments will be considered in the development of options.

This activity is open until 31 March 2022.