Lake Eyre according to scientists was once a huge inland sea as the center of Australia. Due to this large body of water and surrounding vegetation Australia supported many large animals. How then did Australia become a sunburnt country?
Scientist believe that with the arrival of man who used fire on a very regular basis to destroy vegetation and bring out game that without realizing what they were doing Aboriginals were slowly choking the Lake to death. Without the vegetation attracting the rain (similar to what happens in Brazil and the Amazon) Lake Eyre dried out and became a desert and the center of Australia become a large barren waste with a green fringe around the continent. This has been the case for thousands of years now.
Kevin Rudd and Peter Beattie are seeking to revived a proposal first suggested over a 100 years ago. That of taking water from the tropical north where the wet season ensures plenty of rain. Many argue that diverting the water could lead to the creation of an environmental disaster with the great barrier reef and numerous ecosystems being affected due to the lost of fresh water. I believe however this will not be the case. The problem with the rivers in the North at the moment is that they discharge too much into the ocean - sediments, fertilizers, flood water. I would think diverting some of that flow what actually be doing the Reef and Northern oceans a favor.
It would cost billions of dollars to build the necessary infrastructure, tunnels, dams, pumping stations. It is not beyond Australia though. Previously the massive snowy river project was completed which shows Australia has the necessary engineering capability to pull such a project off.
Three major rivers would have a large proportion of their flow diverts down the Burdekin River and into Lake Eyre with the aim to refill it permanently. This would recreate Australia's great inland sea and create a moisture rich environment. It is works properly land half the size of the United States would become arable and it could propel Australia into a major player on the world stage and perhaps be the last great western adventure as millions of acres of land becomes farm and forest land.
If it worked the added advantage would be offsetting the worldwide destruction of forests, CO2 problems, etc. Even with a large inland sea and increased moisture the government would still have to ensure the a large proportion of the new land was devote to forests to encourage the hydrological cycle to function at its best as it did thousands of years ago.
One wonders whether Brazil is facing become a sunburnt country with the huge losses of tropical rain forest. At what stage will the whole South America hydrological system collapse - as Australia has suffered. Will humanity learn lessons of the past? However that is a side issue to the topic. Will Australia be able to have a green center - its a multi-billion dollar gamble, but its a gamble that could result in Trillions of dollars profit, hence its a risk worth taking.
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