Residents say pumped hydro station could threaten platypus population

Close-up of platypus swimming in fresh water surrounded by reeds
Image: Shutterstock

A proposed pumped hydro station at a lake in New South Wales’ Central West region has been slammed by local residents concerned about the effect on platypus in the area, ABC News reported.

According to Energy Australia, the proposed hydro-electric station at Lake Lyell, near Lithgow, will power 150,000 homes during peak periods. 

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However, former veterinarian and Lake Lyell resident Rob White said the fluctuations in the lake’s water flow would be devastating for platypus. 

“An Olympic swimming pool of water will be pumped out every 25 seconds for twelve hours and then it will be coming back into the lake every 16 seconds for eight hours, which creates a washing-machine effect for the lake,” he told ABC News.

“It is going to create turbulence. All the water stratification, oxygenation, temperature; all of those things are going to affect the ecology of the lake. 

“But the fact the water levels of the lake are going down and up regularly means that anything that uses the lake for feeding is going to be impacted.

“The platypus is not classified as endangered, but it is certainly very close to being endangered, so having a good population of them here is important. 

“This is not going to be good for them.” 

In a statement, Energy Australia said the project was not finalised and it would continue its community consultation.

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“There’s still a lot to do as we work through feasibility studies, planning approvals and the environmental impact assessments, which will investigate a range of topics, including protecting aquatic wildlife,” a spokesperson said. 

“Our work continues with the community to understand their views on the project and how it can be improved.

“Any project we do must be good for the environment and good for people.”

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