During my time in Australia (from 2004 to 2010), the state of Victoria was suffering from a persistent drought. In Melbourne, we had significant water restrictions in place and on-going campaigns to reduce water usage. Thankfully, the drought seems to have broken in the past year.
In 2007, in the thick of the drought, I drove a couple of hours north of Melbourne with the goal of photographing Lake Eppalock, a local water catchment. The lake, at that time, was at just 1.3% capacity. When I got there, I was astounded by the sight of this massive dry lake bed. I’d never seen anything like this before. All the trappings of lake life were still there. There were boat launches, picnic areas, signs with boating rules, and infrastructure for lake management. Of course, there were no boats and all the buildings were locked up tight.
The ‘lake’ had been reduced to nothing more than a narrow creek snaking its way through the middle of the lake bed. The tree in the above photo sits at the edge of that creek. The tree is there because the lake is man-made, formed by the damming of the Campaspe River. When the lake is full, it covers an area of over 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres).
I took this photo at the bottom of Lake Eppalock. Were the lake at full capacity, this tree and I would have been under about 50 metres of water. Thankfully, since then, the drought has broken and it has done so in force. The lake is now full again, and this scene is a thing of the past.