Wild weather boosts Lake Ewlyamartup to capacity for first time since 2017
Lake Ewlyamartup reached capacity for the first time in four years earlier this month.
In a wet winter which has left paddocks waterlogged, Lake Ewlyamartup has filled up at a rate of about 100ml per day during July.
“What caught us by surprise is how early in the season it has filled,” Katanning Landcare project manager Ella Maesepp said.
“We thought we might get an August fill this year, but for it to hit it now in mid-July shows how much rain we have had.”
The deepest point in the lake is now a bit more than 1.5m deeper than it was in the middle of summer.
Ms Maesepp said the improved water quality in the lake was great news for local wildlife, with the water now half as salty as the ocean.
“We are focused on not changing the quantity of water in the lake, but it’s more about changing the quality of the lake,” she said.
Ms Maesepp said in the mid to late 1990s, Lake Ewlyamartup was struggling with the impacts of agricultural run-off, deforestation and a drying climate to the point that “the water quality had got so bad that people effectively abandoned it”.
“We got to a point where the salinity of the lake was three times that of the ocean so we had a major water quality collapse,” she said.
“Nobody went near it — it stank. There was black sludge — the water was yellow.”
She attributed much of the improvement in the water quality over the last decade to the work of volunteers from the Lake Ewlyamartup Working Group to revegetate the surrounding reserve, as well as the heavy rainfall this season and the recent installation of flushing channels.
“This is the first year where we have had enough water with the flushing channels, so this is really significant because this is the first year we are actually able to use that as a management technique,” she said.
“It’s going to take us many, many years to flush through what we’ve got, so every good year we have in terms of rain is going to set us on the path to improving, while every bad year will be a step backwards.
“This is the beginning of being able to actively manage and improve water quality at the lake.”
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