Keywords: Australia, Lake Eyre, macro–engineering, evaporation control, imported seawater, photovoltaic cells, biosaline agriculture, arid regions, textile tubes, solar energy, solar power, irrigation reservoir, mathematical modelling, capital investment, human settlement
Macro–engineering Australia's Lake Eyre with imported seawater
The macro–engineering project proposal exploits technologies that have the potential to quickly enliven the arid region surrounding Lake Eyre. The plan is focused on biosaline agriculture. The distinctive macro–project components are: Lake Eyre is gradually filled to a higher level by controlling evaporation and by pumping seawater from the nearby ocean using cheap tensioned textile tubes. Most of the necessary energy could be produced by photovoltaics, in a very attractive application without electricity storage requirements. Eventually, Lake Eyre is to be lidded with a floating impermeable plastic cap or with buoyant hollow plastic balls that reduce evaporation. Filled with seawater, Lake Eyre can be used as a reservoir for irrigation in biosaline agriculture. Elementary mathematical models for the proposed tasks and rough macro–economical estimations are presented. Based on overall results, we concluded that the macro–project is feasible with existing technologies and could become profitable in a few decades. But beyond paying off the capital investment, the greatest implementation benefit is the prospect of creating conditions for human settlement in the low–fertility soils of the Lake Eyre basin. Additional research directions are briefly presented.