Fish could die and a picturesque lake in Horsham could be ruined unless action is taken to control a leak, residents have warned.
The leak has appeared in the upper of two lakes off Depot Road, causing the water level to fall to around 18 inches.
The lakes have been diligently managed by the same small group of local residents for around 25 years.
Nigel Cawston, who lives in Ayshe Court Drive, explained that the lakes are not owned by the council or any organisation body, meaning funding can be difficult to generate.
He said: “Our group fund it ourselves and can’t do everything. No one will support us because half of the lake is not owned by anybody and that is always a sticking point.
“Last year the level got so low that we lost lots of fish.
“We are after £1000 or £1500 for sandbags so we can tape this area off and bring the level back up.”
Thousands of fish inhabit the lakes, but a low water level restricts the amount of oxygen in the water and can lead to the deaths of the fish.
Richard Bryant, of neighbouring Stirling Way, said the water level needs to be around eight to ten inches higher.
Nigel said: “It was a derelict pond when we moved in and we have worked on it ever since.
“There has always been a bit of a leak, but since we had a bit of vandalism early on in the year it opened up and it is going down big time now, there is a sink hole there a couple of metres round.”
Wildlife including ducks, moorhens, kingfishers and herons can also be found in the area, which has access from Harwood Road, Stirling Way and Ayshe Court Drive.
However, Nigel warned that the lakes could continue to dry up and the situation could worsen in hot weather this summer.
He said: “At the moment we are hoping Horsham District Council say they want to get Sussex Wildlife Trust on board as management of the lake, but they won’t take it on board unless there is funding, so it is really a catch 22.
“We are prepared to carry on doing the work, we have done it for 25 years so we will do what we can to keep it nice for the public.
“We want the council to say ‘let’s keep this area as it is’.”
Locals currently tend to the lake every second Sunday of the month from April to November.
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