F1 water sparks Melbourne controversy

(GMM) A controversy is brewing over formula one race organizers' plans to drain water from the Albert Park lake in Melbourne. The Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) revealed this week that it intends to lower the depth of the lake, which is surrounded by the F1 layout south of Melbourne, by about 1.5cm.

Australia is presently suffering its worst drought in 100 years, but local sailing groups said the lack of rain has already left Albert Park lake too empty.

AGPC chief executive Tim Bamford, however, argued that turning to Albert Park's storm-water will greatly reduce the amount of drinking water needed to ready the circuit.

The newspaper 'Herald Sun' said the organizers intend to use the lake water "to soften the racetrack edges" ahead of the 2007 season opener in March.

Bamford said: "Healthy grass on the verges is an essential requirement for safe racing, minimizing dust and debris on the track surface, as well as providing a smooth, safe surface for cars which come off the track."

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