Lake Eyre floods again
THE USUALLY DRY AND salty landscape covering almost one-sixth of central Australia is now a blossoming metropolis of plant and animal life as Lake Eyre fills for the second year in a row.
In a region of climatic contrasts locals have traded dusty roads for ferries as last summers record-breaking rain sent these flood waters running down into the Diamantina, Georgina and Cooper Creek catchments of the Lake Eyre basin.
Lake Eyre wettest in 40 years
Mike Chuk from community organisation Desert Channels Queensland says this type of flooding only happens every 20 to 25 years. “The whole of the landscape has received a lot of water-this years flow is one of the best since the 1970s,” he says.
Higher rain fall has prompted many different birds to migrate back to the area for breeding, but this rain isn’t just great for wildlife but for the people as well, providing economic prosperity for graziers and townships alike. “Every time there’s a flooding of Lake Eyre there are more people coming to the area; it definitely boosts the economy and for a lot of people it’s a fresh start.” Mike says.
An oasis in the desert as more rain to come
For many years the rivers and creeks are a series of water holes and there can be many kilometers between them, but this year even the usually dry Cooper Creek is making its way down to Lake Eyre, which according to Air Central West pilot, Phillip Owens is defiantly a once in a lifetime event.
“It’s like an oasis in the desert and things are just springing to life. I think it’s highly unlikely that we’ll get another next year, I mean you wouldn’t hold your breath… but the seasons are changing so you never know.”
The lake was originally considered forever dry since its discovery in 1840 but new research has shown that the flooding of Lake Eyre may be linked to the El Niña phases of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon.