05 – Why Not Flood Lake Eyre?


Project :

A 500km canal linking the Spencer Gulf to Lake Eyre, which is 15m below sea level. This will initially flood the surrounding salt pan with sea water.

Lake Eyre would become vastly bigger than it has ever been since recorded history began in Australia. The natural evaporation from it would cause a greatly increased rainfall in the region, most of which would flow back down into the lake reducing the salinity enormously. The change to the ecology would be dramatic.

COST: It would only cost the taxpayer for the materials and not much more if the army did it – they are paid their salaries anyway and our Australian Army engineers would relish the opportunity to practice their explosives expertise to build this canal. It would be quite a blast for them.

BEFORE and AFTER

Return on Investment

It could surely be the best investment as the % return on funds invested would be astronomical. The more rain generated in the catchment area, which is one-sixth of the land area of Australia, the less the inflow from the ocean, so the salinity would stabilise at a figure well below the salinity of the oceans, similar to the Caspian Sea which is about a third as saline as the oceans.

Data to Consider

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Eyre gives its surface area as 9500 sq km when full.

Dr Vincent Kotwicki’s Paper says the mean evaporation rate for Lake Eyre is 2000 mm/year. These figures equate to a mean inflow of 602 cumecs needed to replace evaporation, so the canal wouldn’t need to be much bigger than the Bogimbah river on Fraser Island, provided the slope on the canal’s water surface was sufficient for a 602 cumec flow. It may not need to be lined with concrete because leakage wouldn’t matter … there’s plenty more where that came from … the oceans ! This is where I bow out and let a civil engineer trained in hydrology take over !

The displaced rock from the canal’s construction could be used to build a mountain almost 3km high, which, if placed next to the lake, would allow skiing in the morning, and surfing in the afternoon!

Benefits:

– The change to the ecology would be dramatic. Grasses and trees would thrive, resulting in a potential for farming and horticulture.

– Inland of Australia would have a thriving wetland area. Brine shrimp would go crazy! and Pelicans a plenty!

– Tourist revenue from sun-and-desert seeking types.

– Increased rainfall and cooler climate due to extra water and enormous surface area for evaporation to create rain.

– Displaced rock could be used to build canal suburbs for people with too much money.

– Local concrete and rock-removal industries would flourish.

– The lake would always be full, even in low rainfall periods, as it would be continually topped up from the ocean.

Environmental considerations:

• The Eyre basin is already very salty. The more rain generated in the catchment area, which is one-sixth of the land area of Australia, the less the inflow from the ocean there would be, so the salinity would stabilise at a figure well below the salinity of the ocean. Over decades, the salinity would continually be reduced from the new rainwater as well as from outside monsoons.

• Surrounding land is “Desert loams” or “sand” (soil classifications from the 1979 Jacaranda Atlas, school edition says … virtually useless …)

• Alternative spawning grounds for a wide variety of fish

• This idea has got to be more sensible than using the desert as a nuclear testing ground.

What the canal might look like:

wpa48e85f6_06

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