EDNEHOPE is more likely to attract and retain new residents when Lake Wallace has water in it, a study has found.
A Wimmera Development Association study, which looked at the value of recreational water in the region, found that Lake Wallace had the third largest economic contributions from visitors in the Wimmera.
“The lake was rated as the town’s greatest asset by many residents and visitors,” the report said.
“Edenhope residents overwhelmingly believe that Lake Wallace is the town’s lifeblood.”
A case study from the Edenhope and District Memorial Hospital showed the hospital had a greater ability to attract and retain staff when the lake had water in it.
“The hospital’s management records suggest that staff recruitment is 25 per cent more efficient when the hospital is able to promote the environmental features and amenities offered by Lake Wallace,” the report said.
“Young professionals recruited under a graduate program stay an average of one year in times of drought, and an average of three years when the lake has water.”
About 11,000 people visited Lake Wallace last year.
Friends of Lake Wallace’s Rob Pettman said last month that the lake was looking absolutely beautiful.
“It’s just fantastic for the town – from a mental health point of view, it has rejuvenated everyone and it’s been a talking point across the whole district,” he said.
“The angling club is running a fishing competition now that we have water.
“It’s breathed new life into everything.”
The lake was almost dry last year until heavy rain in September.
The lake contributes $860,092 to the region’s economy.
The study also found that Lake Charlegrark has the greatest economic contribution from users that did not live within a town boundary or urban area.
The lake has only been dry twice in history; from 1870 to 1877 and then 2005 to 2009.
In 2016-17, 1697 people stayed overnight at the lake and there were 2215 day visitors.
Women made up the majority of users at both Lake Wallace and Lake Charlegrark, with 69.7 per cent and 50.7 per cent respectively.
Another West Wimmera Shire waterway is the Glenelg River at Harrow.
About 2200 people visited the river in 2016-17.