Christmas Bells

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Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thirlmere Lakes are in trouble

This is my contribution to the Blog Action Day on the theme of Water .

While I am not campaigning on clean drinking water (in this blog), I cannot resist pointing out that the UNESCO recognised World Heritage Lakes are drying out (dying) right under the noses of people who are pretending that it is simply caused by "The Drought". Rubbish.
I have done the stats on the local rainfall since the 1880s and yes it has been dry, but the lakes are drying out now, after good rain over the last 3 years, and especially over the last few months. But the levels are dropping, and dropping fast.

Hence this is my contribution to Blog Action Day. I wish to point out what is happening to World Heritage listed lakes at Thirlmere. in the Lower Blue Mountains National Park.
Governments, both State and Federal are ignoring this issue.

I shall personally write to the relevant Authorities TODAY.

The Thirlmere Lakes are in trouble. They are drying out.

An official inspection of Thirlmere Lakes
Cate Faehrmann MLC and
Rivers SOS representatives Caroline Graham and Julie Sheppard
and Clr Cassandra Twarloh of the Wollondilly Shire Council. People seem to not know why the Thirlmere Lakes are drying out, but coincidentally, the local colliery (see Map linked here) is pumping 4 Megalitres per day of water into the Bargo River. That groundwater is coming from an aquifer somewhere close to the Thirlmere Lakes. So it seems highly likely to me that the Tahmoor Colliery is having an impact on the Thirlmere Lakes.

My brother, the engineer has done the sums for me, to convert 4 megalitres into a unit we can all get out heads around - Olympic Swimming pools.

No more swimming here
- not for a while, anyway.
Sue found a lost Flipper out in the mud.

FINA has set the standard size for Olympic Swimming Pools. At 50 metres long, 25 metres wide and 2 metres deep (the official configuration) such a pool holds 2.5 Megalitres (2,500,000 L).

  1. So, the Tahmoor Colliery pumps take 15 Hours to pump an Olympic pool dry.
  2. They pump out the equivalent of 1.6 official-sized Olympic swimming pools per day .
  3. In the course of a year, they pump out the equivalent of 584 official-sized Olympic swimming pools.

No wonder the Thirlmere Lakes are drying out.

The irony is that these Lakes are part of the Blue Mountains World Heritage area.That means the Federal Government is answerable to UNESCO for the safe management of these unique Lakes.


Red Nomad OZ said...

What an incredible coincidence between industrial water usage and lakes drying up! Is it worth alerting your local MP to the potential World Heritage impact?? Loved the orchid photos in the previous post - sadly our orchid season in SA has come to an abrupt halt after a couple of warmer than average days ...

Happy travels!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Red Nomad Oz.
You have the same sense of amazement as I do.
Who would have thought that pumping water out of a system would impact on freshwater lakes?
Orchids hate hot weather, or at least the cool season ones do.
Sun Orchids love it.
Thanks for the comment.

Miss Eagle said...

Denis, great post and pictures. Hope it does some good. Don't know everyone in the pic but I do know Cate and Carolne and I am sure that they will do a good job of being on the case.

It seems to me that our educational goal (and I know others recognise this too) has to be to show people that the health of places like the Thirlmere Lakes connects with our own health, our food health, our water health and so on.

Recognising that all of the natural world including us is connected is not just a "hippy=greeny" fantasy.

We live within an endogenous system where, when one place or species is affected, there is a knock-on effect somewhere within the system.

Le Loup said...

Stick with it until you get some action. This can't be allowed to continue.
As an aside, the Govt. drained the lake at Guyra NSW. This lake was so large that it had a steamboat on it! Imagine what a tourist attraction that would be now, but it is too late now.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Miss Eagle and Le Loup.
Thanks - Both of you.
Yes, You do know Caroline and Cate, and she is shiny new as an MLC, so it is great to see her take up the challenge where Lee Rhiannon left off.
She has not missed a beat.
LeLoup - could you please email me any info on the drained lake at Guyra?
Was it undermined, or some other issue?
peonyden (at) gmail (dot) com
I would be very interested to hear more.

Mac_fromAustralia said...

As Miss Eagle said, "recognising that all of the natural world including us is connected is not just a "hippy=greeny" fantasy".
I'd say more about that but feeling a bit tired and inarticulate tonight.