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  • Richard

To Yulara

Driving south west from Alice Springs, towards Uluru, fascinating to see some of the watsan components – firstly, what to an outsider looks to be a traditional ‘outback’ wind powered but now defunct it looks, along with water storage tank in left background and A frame in right background, presumably for borepump lifting?

The photo stop, next to a (dry) river crossing – borehole not surprisingly being near to a groundwater recharge area - giving a chance to see a road train; these enormous trucks move fast and are difficult to picture on the move, at least to me, anyway.

Onwards (perhaps backwards, not sure if I have this sequence correct) to a more modern water source with electric powered borewell on left feeding a pond for at a rest stop.

Thinking about water resources in such a dry area, though continuously intrigued by all the 'flood markers' along the road, getting to the Finke River crossing, signs explaining that it is believed to be one of the oldest rivers in the world at about 350 million years.

Online information reports “The slack-water deposits in the Finke Gorge are the best sequence discovered in Australia. These deposits record 7 major floods, all in the past 850 years, leading to the conclusion that there has been a marked increase in the frequency of extraordinary floods in the Late Holocene and that the river flow is marked by extreme variability. In 1967 Tropical Storm Gwen dumped 150 mm in 11 hours on the headwaters of the Finke. The river spread out when it emerged from the valleys of the ranges to cover an area 0.8 m deep and 11 km wide. When it flowed down shallow gradient of the south-sloping flat country between the longitudinal dunes of the Simpson Desert it dived into several streams. In some of these interdune flood-outs it reached a depth of 6 m and took 19 months to be totally absorbed and evaporated. This was the biggest flood since 1895, when the Hermansburg Mission recorded 240 mm in a single mid-January event. Larger floods occurred in 1971, 1974, and 1988, the largest concentration of floods in historical records.”

And to keep the balance of water and sanitation going, what looks to me remarkably like and Australian VIP Latrine …. Though it may be a sealed vault type rather than a ‘proper’ VIP?

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