May 23 – Scott & Sarah

For our ninth day in Australia, a long bus drive lead us to the Hattah Lakes National Park. Currently, the National Park has a project utilizing dams to create natural flooding planes. The park is next to a river in the desert and experiences dust storms occasionally; a symptom of the dry environment. The area that the National Park owns is considered special, due to the park’s unique ecology. Animal like the Regent Parrot, whose population is dwindling, benefit from this project. The park is also populated with red gum trees, which are meant to live on floodplains.

The project itself addresses the lack of water common to Australia. Ten years ago, land rights were separated from rights to water, creating a free water market to sell to people. Overall this project created dams to control the flow of water and force flooding to mimic natural systems. A great way to counteract droughts. Although at some points it can reverse the natural water flows, the dams work extremely well with the natural ecosystems. The pumps deliver one thousand megaliters per day, and inundated 14800 acres.

Canoe trees can also be found in certain locations around the park, where trees were scarred by indigenous people created by taking chunks of bark out of trees to make canoes, since the area was once a meeting place. This use by indigenous people led to large deposits from their camps, which were later excavated as part of building trust with aboriginal people during the project. In regards to it being aboriginal land originally, $500,000 AUD was put toward archeology of the area to find remains from meetings and culture of their past, and since heritage and ecological health is so important to aboriginal culture, letting them connect with the land in this way is a way to built trust during this project.

Here we are outside one of the pumps in the system on site.

This map shows a map of the water dams and how the water flows through the system.

Our guide for the day gave a presentation showing data about the project, and this shows how the water has been flowing through the dams.

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