Title: Macro-engineering Australia's Lake Eyre with imported seawater

Authors: Viorel Badescu; Richard B. Cathcart; Alexander A. Bolonkin; Marius Paulescu; Paul Gravila

Addresses: Candida Oancea Institute, Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Spl. Independentei 313, Bucharest 060042, Romania; Romanian Academy, Calea Victoriei 125, Bucharest 010071, Romania ' Geographos, 1300 West Olive Avenue, Suite M, Burbank, California 91506, USA ' C&R, 1310 Avenue R, Suite 6-F, Brooklyn, New York 11229, USA ' Department of Physics, West University of Timisoara, V. Parvan 4, 300223 Timisoara, Romania ' Department of Physics, West University of Timisoara, V. Parvan 4, 300223 Timisoara, Romania

Abstract: 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.

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.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESD.2013.054956

International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development, 2013 Vol.12 No.3, pp.264 - 284

Available online: 07 Jun 2013

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