Lake Conjola Management Information

Shoalhaven City Council has been working with the Lake Conjola Community Association and the NSW State Government to manage the lake and its entrance, following the closure of the lake in April 2018. Council appreciates that the recent closure of the lake and raised lake levels have been the cause of anxiety for residents and visitors of Lake Conjola.

Council has created this “Get Involved” project page to assist the community in accessing up to date information on the management of the Lake and the entrance. Council will be providing timelines, reports, studies, resolutions and works that Council is undertaking to improve the health of Lake Conjola and manage the flooding risk on this page.

This page provides the following information and functions:


Coastal Management Program (CMP)

The Shoalhaven Coastal Zone Management Plan was certified by the NSW Minister for Environment in September 2018. This Plan will act as the guiding plan for management of the open (open to ocean swell) coast until 2021, whilst a Coastal Management Plan (CMP) is being prepared.

On 14 February 2019, Councillors and Council staff met with the Lake Conjola Community Association, State Government Agencies including NSW Crown Lands, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW Department of Primary Industries and State Member for the South Coast Hon. Shelley Hancock.

This meeting was to discuss the review of the Interim Lake Conjola Entrance Management Policy and future directions for the management of Lake Conjola. At this meeting it was resolved to apply to the NSW Government Coast and Estuary Program for funds to prepare a Coastal Management Program (CMP), as per the requirements of the NSW Coastal Management Act 2016 and the manual. Read more...


Entrance Management – Crown Land Licence Application to Remove Plug from Pilot Channel

Lake Conjola entrance closed in April 2018, after being open since June 2016. In May water sampling commenced as is traditionally carried out during a lake closure and in accordance with the Entrance Management Policy (EMP). In July, the Conjola Community Association began expressing concerns about the Lake closure and water quality and requested that Council open the Lake.

A short summary of events leading to Council's application for a Crown Land Licence to remove the plug from the pilot channel is provided in an article below. Read more...


Shoalhaven City Council has been working with the Lake Conjola Community Association and the NSW State Government to manage the lake and its entrance, following the closure of the lake in April 2018. Council appreciates that the recent closure of the lake and raised lake levels have been the cause of anxiety for residents and visitors of Lake Conjola.

Council has created this “Get Involved” project page to assist the community in accessing up to date information on the management of the Lake and the entrance. Council will be providing timelines, reports, studies, resolutions and works that Council is undertaking to improve the health of Lake Conjola and manage the flooding risk on this page.

This page provides the following information and functions:


Coastal Management Program (CMP)

The Shoalhaven Coastal Zone Management Plan was certified by the NSW Minister for Environment in September 2018. This Plan will act as the guiding plan for management of the open (open to ocean swell) coast until 2021, whilst a Coastal Management Plan (CMP) is being prepared.

On 14 February 2019, Councillors and Council staff met with the Lake Conjola Community Association, State Government Agencies including NSW Crown Lands, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW Department of Primary Industries and State Member for the South Coast Hon. Shelley Hancock.

This meeting was to discuss the review of the Interim Lake Conjola Entrance Management Policy and future directions for the management of Lake Conjola. At this meeting it was resolved to apply to the NSW Government Coast and Estuary Program for funds to prepare a Coastal Management Program (CMP), as per the requirements of the NSW Coastal Management Act 2016 and the manual. Read more...


Entrance Management – Crown Land Licence Application to Remove Plug from Pilot Channel

Lake Conjola entrance closed in April 2018, after being open since June 2016. In May water sampling commenced as is traditionally carried out during a lake closure and in accordance with the Entrance Management Policy (EMP). In July, the Conjola Community Association began expressing concerns about the Lake closure and water quality and requested that Council open the Lake.

A short summary of events leading to Council's application for a Crown Land Licence to remove the plug from the pilot channel is provided in an article below. Read more...


  • Did you know that Council is continuing to take water samples weekly seven sites across the lake?

    7 days ago
    Aqua data image

    You can look up the water quality results for each site in AquaData. This is a Council water quality portal that allows the public to look up data as it arrives from the National Association of Testing Authorities' registered laboratory, ALS Global. A lot of this data goes back to the 1990’s.


    You can look up the water quality results for each site in AquaData. This is a Council water quality portal that allows the public to look up data as it arrives from the National Association of Testing Authorities' registered laboratory, ALS Global. A lot of this data goes back to the 1990’s.


  • Water Testing Update - December 2019

    7 days ago
    Lake conjola %2813%29

    The water quality in Lake Conjola continues to be in great condition and safe for human contact activities such as swimming and water skiing.

    This is not expected to change over the upcoming holiday period unless the catchment receives rainfall that results in runoff into the lake.

    Lake levels, at as at 3 December 2019, is 0.50m Australian Height Datum (AHD). The Lake levels will continue to decline if substantial rainfall is not received in the catchment.

    The water quality in Lake Conjola continues to be in great condition and safe for human contact activities such as swimming and water skiing.

    This is not expected to change over the upcoming holiday period unless the catchment receives rainfall that results in runoff into the lake.

    Lake levels, at as at 3 December 2019, is 0.50m Australian Height Datum (AHD). The Lake levels will continue to decline if substantial rainfall is not received in the catchment.

  • Old Tip Site Monitoring

    29 days ago
    Tip map

    In February 2019, Council staff met with the Lake Conjola Community Association to address community concerns regarding the possibility of leachate contamination from the old Lake Conjola landfill site building up in the waters of the lake.

    At the time sampling was conducted on 25 February 2019, the creek line to the south of Lake Conjola’s old Landfill was found to be dry. A sample was taken from the north-western arm of Padimores Lagoon (as shown on the map below). The sample was saline with the lagoon water level extending into the surrounding vegetation as shown in the image below.

    ...

    In February 2019, Council staff met with the Lake Conjola Community Association to address community concerns regarding the possibility of leachate contamination from the old Lake Conjola landfill site building up in the waters of the lake.

    At the time sampling was conducted on 25 February 2019, the creek line to the south of Lake Conjola’s old Landfill was found to be dry. A sample was taken from the north-western arm of Padimores Lagoon (as shown on the map below). The sample was saline with the lagoon water level extending into the surrounding vegetation as shown in the image below.

    The sample was tested by a National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA) registered laboratory for the same parameters that the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) requires for existing landfills. The results found that the parameters tested were below the limits of detection for Organochlorine pesticides, Organophosphate pesticides, poly aromatic hydrocarbons and petroleum hydrocarbons.

    On 26 March 2019, at its Ordinary Meeting, Council resolved (MIN19.4) to undertake an investigation into the possible contamination from the old tip site.

    A report was prepared and submitted to Council’s Strategy & Assets Meeting on 14 May 2019 at which Council resolved (MIN19.307) to fund further investigation and sampling.


    Independent environmental consultants were commissioned to conduct a soil and groundwater investigation at the Lake Conjola Waste Transfer Station.

    The results for soil report concentrations are below the adopted Site Assessment Criteria for residential land use or the Laboratory Limit of Reporting (LOR) and the results for groundwater do not report any significant exceedances of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (2018) Trigger Values.

    The results of the soil and groundwater investigation and sampling is available at Lake Conjola Soil and Ground Water Assessment.


  • Water Testing Update - October 2019

    about 2 months ago
    Lake conjola %284%29

    18 October 2019 – The water quality in Lake Conjola is excellent and continues to be safe for human contact activities such as swimming etc. Results for samples taken on the 18 September 2019, after the catchment received approximately 50mm of rain in the previous 24 hours were still well below the water quality guidelines.

    Did you know that Council is continuing to take water samples weekly seven sites across the lake?

    You can look up all the water quality results for each site in AquaData. This is a Council water quality portal that...

    18 October 2019 – The water quality in Lake Conjola is excellent and continues to be safe for human contact activities such as swimming etc. Results for samples taken on the 18 September 2019, after the catchment received approximately 50mm of rain in the previous 24 hours were still well below the water quality guidelines.

    Did you know that Council is continuing to take water samples weekly seven sites across the lake?

    You can look up all the water quality results for each site in AquaData. This is a Council water quality portal that allows the public to look up data as it arrives from Nata registered laboratory ALS. A lot of this data goes back to the 1990’s.


  • Coastal Management Plan - Update

    about 2 months ago
    Lake conjola %2816%29

    In June 2019, Council was awarded and signed a grant agreement with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) to prepare a Coastal Management Program (CMP) for Lake Conjola. The grant timeframe for the project is from 01/09/2019 to 01/09/2021.

    The first phase of the CMP process, the development of a Scoping Study has commenced. The community engagement phase of the citywide scoping study was rolled out across the city, with six (6) Focus Workshops and Community Information Drop-In Sessions held from 24/9/19 – 3/10/19 at the following locations:

    1. Ulladulla

    2. St Georges Basin

    3. Nowra

    4. Lake...

    In June 2019, Council was awarded and signed a grant agreement with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) to prepare a Coastal Management Program (CMP) for Lake Conjola. The grant timeframe for the project is from 01/09/2019 to 01/09/2021.

    The first phase of the CMP process, the development of a Scoping Study has commenced. The community engagement phase of the citywide scoping study was rolled out across the city, with six (6) Focus Workshops and Community Information Drop-In Sessions held from 24/9/19 – 3/10/19 at the following locations:

    1. Ulladulla

    2. St Georges Basin

    3. Nowra

    4. Lake Conjola

    5. Sussex Inlet

    6. Shoalhaven Heads


  • Water Testing Update - September 2019

    about 2 months ago
    Lake conjola %2811%29

    12 September 2019 - The water sampling results up to 4th September 2019 show that the water quality is excellent with enterococci levels well below the limit of recording in most cases (<1). This means that the water is safe for human contact as per the National Health and Medical Research Guidelines 2008. Nitrogen and Phosphorus levels decreased whilst the lake was open. Chlorophyll-A remains at very low levels and together with low nitrogen and phosphorus readings would indicate a very low risk of algal blooms or compromised water quality in the lake.

    What is noticeable is that after...

    12 September 2019 - The water sampling results up to 4th September 2019 show that the water quality is excellent with enterococci levels well below the limit of recording in most cases (<1). This means that the water is safe for human contact as per the National Health and Medical Research Guidelines 2008. Nitrogen and Phosphorus levels decreased whilst the lake was open. Chlorophyll-A remains at very low levels and together with low nitrogen and phosphorus readings would indicate a very low risk of algal blooms or compromised water quality in the lake.

    What is noticeable is that after rainfall events bacteria levels do increase across all sites as runoff from the catchment feeds into the lake. These levels returned to background levels within a day or two. This is expected across the catchment as pollutants from the land, whether urban or agricultural are washed into the lake. Swimming should be avoided in any catchment or along stormwater affected beaches within 48 hours after rainfall.


  • Statement from NSW Department of Primary Industries - Fisheries Concerning Grey Nurse Shark

    4 months ago
    Lake conjola %2817%29

    1 August 2019

    The NSW Department of Primary Industries - Fisheries have released the following statement concerning the findings of the necropsy conducted on the Greynurse Shark that was found dead in Lake Conjola on 2 July 2019:

    ‘DPI Fisheries were advised of a dead Greynurse Shark, about 3m long, in Lake Conjola on 2 July 2019. The shark was transported to Port Stephens Fisheries Institute for necropsy. The animal was determined to be about 20% lighter than its expected weight for a Greynurse of that size. It was not possible to provide a precise cause of death for the...

    1 August 2019

    The NSW Department of Primary Industries - Fisheries have released the following statement concerning the findings of the necropsy conducted on the Greynurse Shark that was found dead in Lake Conjola on 2 July 2019:

    ‘DPI Fisheries were advised of a dead Greynurse Shark, about 3m long, in Lake Conjola on 2 July 2019. The shark was transported to Port Stephens Fisheries Institute for necropsy. The animal was determined to be about 20% lighter than its expected weight for a Greynurse of that size. It was not possible to provide a precise cause of death for the shark; hooks were found in the stomach and there was evidence of bacterial infection, both of which may have contributed to the death.’

  • Update for Community - Media Release

    5 months ago
    66715342 2411580465530793 9147790228876951552 n

    12 July 2019

    On 16th June 2019 Council commenced works to temporarily open a channel to allow Lake Conjola to drain into the ocean. The specific objectives of the work being to flush the lake, scour sand out of the lake and allow the lake levels to lower by at least 300mm.

    Council worked with local subcontractors and two community representatives Dirk Treloar and Cathy Ardron who volunteered to be inducted onto the worksite and monitor the works from a community perspective.

    This channel has now been open for over 20 days, with significant flushing and lowering to the...

    12 July 2019

    On 16th June 2019 Council commenced works to temporarily open a channel to allow Lake Conjola to drain into the ocean. The specific objectives of the work being to flush the lake, scour sand out of the lake and allow the lake levels to lower by at least 300mm.

    Council worked with local subcontractors and two community representatives Dirk Treloar and Cathy Ardron who volunteered to be inducted onto the worksite and monitor the works from a community perspective.

    This channel has now been open for over 20 days, with significant flushing and lowering to the river resulting. It took four days to open the lake and the ongoing works have been occurring to help maintain the opening.

    During this time there has been over 1500 truck loads (22,600cu.m) of sand excavated and placed at an approved location to the north of the lake.

    Dirk and Cathy said

    “Works to open a channel which has enabled the lake to flush and lower have been very successful with the objective of trying to lower the level of the lake by more that 300mm being well and truly achieved.”

    “We are happy with the way the works were conducted and the level of cooperation and consultation displayed by Council.”

    “Last Friday we met with a number of community representatives and Council staff and it was explained that the excavators would need to leave the site in the next few days. The consensus at the meeting was that works would conclude on Friday 12 July 2019”

    Director Paul Keech said

    “Maintaining the opening with machinery and staff does come at a cost and given the condition of the lake, the environmental forces at play and with the agreement of the community, it has been determined that the time has come for ongoing works to stop.”

    “It is expected that machinery will leave site today and will not return on Monday.”

    “It is expected that the opening will remain in place for a short time but as planned and discussed before any work started, it will eventually close.”

    Chief Executive Officer Stephen Dunshea said

    “It has been important that these works have been undertaken in partnership with community. Council has ensured that the community have been involved in the decision-making processes throughout this period of works and updated regularly throughout the process.”

    “It is very important for Council to continue to work with the community throughout this process and into the future, in partnership “

    “Whilst the works related to the construction of an opening will come to an end, there is a continuing process that will be undertaken with the community to review the Coastal Zone Management Plan and to create a new agreed management policy for the Lake.”

    Updates to the community will continue to be provided on Council’s Lake Conjola Get Involved Page, throughout the process.

  • Community Update for Lake Conjola

    6 months ago

    28 June 2019

    Today, Friday 28 June, staff met on site with two nominated community representatives to discuss the ongoing progress of the channel maintenance.

    Shoalhaven City Council's newly appointed CEO, Stephen Dunshea, was also at Lake Conjola today inspecting the lake, channel and surrounds.

    The improvements in the lake and surrounding area are clear and very pleasing to see.

    Please note that workers will not be on site over the weekend but will return on Monday 1July 2019.

    Machinery is expected to remain on site next week. It is expected that Council's Director of Assets and Works, Paul Keech, will attend the site late next week to undertake a further assessment of the channel and also meet with nominated community representatives at this time. Further advice regarding this meeting will be provided to Lake Conjola Community Association once determined.

    Lake Level

    As of 4.37pm Thursday 27 June 2019, the level of Lake Conjola measured at 0.43m AHD, showing the water level in the lake has reduced further this week. The level of the lake was 0.92m AHD prior to the opening of the entrance.

    The following drone footage shows the Lake Conjola entrance opening on 26 June 2019.

    28 June 2019

    Today, Friday 28 June, staff met on site with two nominated community representatives to discuss the ongoing progress of the channel maintenance.

    Shoalhaven City Council's newly appointed CEO, Stephen Dunshea, was also at Lake Conjola today inspecting the lake, channel and surrounds.

    The improvements in the lake and surrounding area are clear and very pleasing to see.

    Please note that workers will not be on site over the weekend but will return on Monday 1July 2019.

    Machinery is expected to remain on site next week. It is expected that Council's Director of Assets and Works, Paul Keech, will attend the site late next week to undertake a further assessment of the channel and also meet with nominated community representatives at this time. Further advice regarding this meeting will be provided to Lake Conjola Community Association once determined.

    Lake Level

    As of 4.37pm Thursday 27 June 2019, the level of Lake Conjola measured at 0.43m AHD, showing the water level in the lake has reduced further this week. The level of the lake was 0.92m AHD prior to the opening of the entrance.

    The following drone footage shows the Lake Conjola entrance opening on 26 June 2019.

  • Funding Provision for Lake Conjola

    6 months ago
    Lake conjola %2812%29
    28 June 2019

    At Council’s Ordinary Meeting on Tuesday, 25 June 2019 it was resolved that Council would allocate the following funds to Lake Conjola for next financial year:
    • An allocation of $140,000 is provided to match the NSW State Government grant allocation which has been provided to undertake the independent Coastal Zone Management Plan process;
    • A further $143,000 was also allocated and will be assigned to fund works in the channel and maintenance requirements.
    Planning works for the Coastal Zone Management Plan development are being undertaken, with further details to be provided to the community once available.

    28 June 2019

    At Council’s Ordinary Meeting on Tuesday, 25 June 2019 it was resolved that Council would allocate the following funds to Lake Conjola for next financial year:
    • An allocation of $140,000 is provided to match the NSW State Government grant allocation which has been provided to undertake the independent Coastal Zone Management Plan process;
    • A further $143,000 was also allocated and will be assigned to fund works in the channel and maintenance requirements.
    Planning works for the Coastal Zone Management Plan development are being undertaken, with further details to be provided to the community once available.