Lake Eppalock

During 14 years of drought Lake Eppalock suffered greatly through lack of water input from the Campaspe River and tributaries. A regular visitor to Heathcote for astronomy, I visited Lake Eppalock, too, to enjoy the scenery, sandy beaches and the water - although volume had dropped to critically low (~10%) by the beginning of 2009.

Well, what a difference two years makes! By September 2010 people began to visit the Lake in increasing numbers as many had not seen so much water for many years. By January 2011 record rainfall in the area during the latter half of 2010 had the Lake fill to over-capacity. Huge volumes of water overflowed the weir as the spillway was unable to cope with the volume of water. This resulted in severe erosion washing away parts of the road, lifting the asphalt and creating an enormous wash-away from the countless tonnes of top-soil and rock that had been removed by the tremendous flow of water. The speed, ferocity and noise from the water coming down the spillway had to be experienced to be believed.

The water outflow from the spillway again becomes the Campaspe River which, because of the huge volume of water, overflowed its banks causing severe flooding to towns downstream, such as Rochester.

Here's my record from January 2009 to January 2011.


Water tower and level on the 24th January 2009 Water tower September 2010 Sept 2010: vegetation high and dry for years becoming inundated by the rising water Sept 2010: some water play in newly created puddles. Sept 2010: a glorious sunset enjoyed near the Lake 17th January 2011: high water

17th January 2011: O-ooh! Doesn't look good. 17th January 2011: damage to the road 17th January 2011: the wash-away 17th January 2011: the huge volume of water coming down the spillway 17th January 2011: the spillway maelstrom. I wouldn't want to get caught up in that. 17th January 2011: the weir after having done its job. Lake water level (left of weir) now ~1m below overflow point.


All Images Russell Cockman 

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