Kati Thanda-Eyre Sea

NigelReading|ASYNSIS
12 min readSep 4, 2022

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Australian Inland Lakes, Forests & CleanTech Towns

A Great Lakes CleanTech & AgriTech communities region for Australia.

Is this how to return more clement micro-climates to Australia to moderate the Global Heating that’s disrupting Gaia homeostasis, with #SynPlexity design thinking and “soft-geoengineering”?

Perhaps the CSIRO can best model the pros & cons, including reforesting vast swathes of the continent to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide using renewables-powered desalinated seawater?

They could also model evaporating the salt lakes of the Eyre basin (and from ocean water desalination salt pans to feed these new freshwater lakes) to soft-geoengineer the planetary climate with atmospheric aerosol salt crystals for global Solar Radiation Management as leading NASA climate scientists now urge.

How can we also emulate the Nordics and create a Future Fund for Indigenous Australia to Elevate the Voice, Close the Gap and co-design an equitable and prosperous future for all Australians that fully reflects our history, secures our common future, and releases our full potential?

Australia at the end of the Cretaceous (& again in future?)

65 million years ago Australia, at the close of the Cretaceous era, when a meteor careered into the Yucatan peninsula, exterminating the dinosaurs by causing a climate cataclysm; was due to continental drift, significantly further south than it is now.

Sea levels were higher, our coastlines were somewhat more constrained, and an inland sea filled what is now the Eyre basin.

This is truly #FormFollowsFlow in action— over eons, at a epochal scale.

You Beaut Country by John Olsen

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0

So what would happen if we effectively hacked plate tectonics, thereby apparently reversing continental drift — and recreated an inland sea today?

And why would we try?

I believe the answer is the Climate Emergency, and the need to create a more clement and temperate zone of regional weather to protect our island continent nation from weather extremes, until we’ve moderated the depredations of increasing Global Heating; where even the scientists are shocked by the crises that we’re now alarmingly, routinely seeing, as I type.

We therefore must model the consequences of such a move, including the risks and opportunities for our people, environment and economy.

The Eyre Basin and its Lakes

We must also understand if the costs of doing so, will be less than or comparable to, those of doing nothing.

So how can new, mass carbon credit-generating forestation, rewilding and reforestation in inland Australia help to preserve and diversify our fragile native ecosystems, capture and sequester atmospheric carbon (while creating a new farmed-engineered timber plantations resource — along with lab-grown wood, for the construction industry), to help reverse runaway global heating?

As shared on Twitter

2 Billion people depend on the meltwater feeding great rivers like the Ganges and Yangtze, flowing from the world’s glaciers.

As shared on Twitter

What is being proposed is based on Constructal thermodynamic physics and Asynsis design thinking — as summarised here, and is no longer unprecedented:

An #InlandForestSea at #KatiThanda #LakeEyre with #DeSal, #Agriculture, #AnalogForest, #PumpedHydro powered by #Renewables, has an inspiring #SynPlexity precedent, the Sea of Galilee:

So Israel and Jordan are now cooperating to trade solar power for water, in a heartening win-win for both nations.

Similar initiatives are being rolled out in other parts of the Middle East, including at NEOM, arguably with a $USD500bn budget, the world’s largest and most ambitious regenerative sustainable design and construction project; where I was lucky enough to apply the TED conferences-shared Asynsis paradigm in practice to lead the architectural masterplanning concept design to Asset Briefing issue, of their first asset, Sindalah island in 2021–2; right next door to Egypt, Jordan and Israel, near the Sinai peninsula, the Suez canal and where the River Jordan used to flow into the Gulf of Aqaba, before the droughts brought on by Global Heating.

Another precedent is the Bradfield scheme — devised by the engineer who gave us the Sydney Harbour and Brisbane Story bridges, which is summarised in this ABC article:

The Bradfield Scheme
Dr Daniel Connell

It’s clear from this article that creating an inland sea by diverting northern rivers in Queensland towards the Australian interior is currently an economic non-starter.

But from the above quote from Dr Daniel Connell, it’s also evident that to allow such a scheme to be commercially-viable, a new CleanTech-industry-led City or Cities & Towns are also required to generate the revenue surpluses that would pay for such capital investment, with a reasonable return.

Since we need to broaden our industrial base and grow our population and economy to punch our weight and ensure our prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific region, then the case for an inland forest sea or lakes network with associated new communities, improves.

It improves further if we also create special economic zones manned by guestworkers on fixed competitive labour rate terms, giving them in return TAFE qualifications, work experience and potentially, for the best performers, the chance to apply for PR as newly skilled migrants.
Increasingly robots too, will allow Australia to make CleanTech as competitively as any other relatively developing nation, thereby deepening, diversifying, home-shoring and broadening our industrial manufacturing base.

So what we propose is quite different from Bradfield’s, we propose a short, simple pipe system direct from the Spencer gulf to the Eyre basin, with the Great Australian Bight sea water desalination and water pumping powered entirely by renewables, by utility-scale wind and solar farms.

Neo-Bradfield — Piping Spencer Gulf Water to Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre

This scheme would evolve gradually over decades, beginning with a network of inter-linked lakes as shown above, with agricultural land and rewilded bushland forest (with interspersed analog plantation forests), connected by cleantech transport links and small nodal communities along those links, developing incrementally over time, just like a slime-mold also evolves and grows over time as it seeks new resources.

Desalination will be needed to first purify the pumped Spencer Gulf waters, and then again for the lakes themselves, for them to become and stay, fresh.
The desalination brine created can also be used to create brine concrete for the pipes, culverts, covered canals & other civil infrastructure for this system, not to mention for buildings.

Further, salt lake brine can be the source for salt crystals pumped into to the upper atmosphere to increase the earth’s albedo.
This technology can be tested and refined around Kati Thanda, and then deployed at sea, to reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth’s surface to help preserve earth’s homeostatic ocean circulation.

Salt Crystals into Clouds — Princeton

Specialist tunnel boring machines now used for Snowy 2.0 could be re-purposed for this next piece of great Australian infrastructure.

Any canals used, and lakes created, would be covered by floating photvoltaics to reduce evaporation of water bound for irrigation uses.

The lakes would have a SynPlexity single-platform, multi-modal role by providing freshwater to our arid interior, regenerating our collective lands, aquaculture, be irrigation, industrial and potable water sources, pumped hydro & solar floatovoltaic basins, and be used for the recreation and enjoyment of the people living along their shores.

So we therefore incrementally create a “Lake Ontario” region for Australia, along with a new Toronto (with Canberra “Bush Capital” urban planning characteristics), Kingston, Rochester, Niagara, Hamilton & Mississauga to help pay for it!

So perhaps Australia can thereby also moderate its climate, and green its deserts to preserve a more temperate future in the face of the dangerous climate crisis that threatens greater weather extremes like severe bush fires and extreme rain storms and floods?

Perhaps the hydrological cycle will help replenish the Murray-Darling river basin?

Considering Climate Change is already causing greater rainfall in the Eyre Basin, and Kati Thanda is already filling due to the Indian Ocean Dipole and La Niña, shouldn’t we plan for the inevitable?

Australian Rainfall 2022

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-11-08/bom-weather-forecast-says-la-nina-iod-persist/101360650

Perhaps this new stored water resource, creating a new Analogue forest (for plantation timber to better-build our green buildings, mixed with re-wilded natural bushland in mosaics), and expanded agricultural belt in our interior; can also store renewable energy from our REZs — enabling a pumped hydro storage capacity to supplement Snowy 2.0?

An Analogue Forest schematic, via Design Providence

Can we therefore extend our Temperate climate zone deeper into the South Australian, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales Desert and Grassland zones?

Australian Climate Zones

So is this a view to an #EyreBasin perspective; and another #PumpedHydro opportunity — via an #Australian #InlandForestSea using desalinated Great Australian Bight-Southern Ocean sea water pumped (and freshened), via renewables-generated (otherwise & currently wasted), surplus capacity?

Australian Elevation Map 1
Australian Elevation Map 2

Rather than Frack the Eyre basin, is there a more sustainable way to bring regenerative development to Kati Thanda?

Could we green our deserts with canals, pipes and hydrological cycling from evaporation off the sea and forest (so feed more people here and in our Indo-Pacific region); while also replenishing our downwind rivers in the Murray Darling river basins?

Could eastern seaboard average temperatures be thereby moderated (by a combination of the new Lakes-Canals, Analogue Forests and Agri-Voltaics), and restrained, with rainfall slightly increased — so (with associated indigenous controlled mosaic burning practice-led management of bushland), reducing bushfire risks and urban heat island emergencies in the face of relentless global heating — which is “baked-in” for at least the remainder of this century?

Could we thereby draw the Monsoon from the Kimberleys deeper into our continental interior, so further greening our deserts?

Could we, girding the Flinders ranges, create another pumped-hydro storage array for the nation, supplementing Snowy 2.0 & Tasmania’s Battery for the Nation?

Could we create more natural capital to rewild our continent with Nature Credits while protecting species diversity and creating new national parks for the benefit of our natural environment and enjoyment of our people?

Could we sustainably transform and boost our industrial base, economic growth and population by accepting more skilled immigrants via building new Doughnut Economy-based, ecolivable urban communities (rather than worsening congestion and housing problems in our existing cities), with some of them as Renewable Energy Zone (REZ)-co-located Special Economic Zones (SEZ)s to create a new CleanTech manufacturing base for the country); around this new Australian “Lake Ontario”?

All while inter-connecting them and our great coastal cities, with renewables-powered HyperLoop intercity and MetaLoop intracity transit networks — that are crucially, manufactured in these same SEZs?

This is how we rebuild our autonomous Australian Industrial Base (making us less dependent on overseas supply-chains), while also supporting & elevating our Indigenous people and potentially, supplementing their numbers with guest workers from the Global South, to allow us to cost-compete (along with automation), on the global stage to be able to play fair with the likes of China & India in manufacturing viability.

Asynsis attended both Revenue & Climate Integrity Summits in 2022–3, kindly hosted by the Australia Institute who raised many wicked-problems; to share with numerous participants how SynPlexity, single platform, multi-modal, biomimetic design via our multi wicked-problem addressing Kati Thanda Inland Forest Sea proposal — yields higher indigenous agency, wider societal productivity, carbon sequestration and credible credits, economic and societal well-being & revenues for progressive government priorities, as noted in the Asynsis slideshow above, which while not formally presented at the summits, is shared here.

So how would we pay for this major investment in nation building?

Green bonds raised on the International Capital markets, with long maturities to suit the long-term thinking behind, and substantial lead-times required for this proposal.

We could also create a new Australian Sovereign Fund, along the lines of the Norwegian one, for Infrastructure, based on levies on our commodity and energy exports (the profits of which are often off-shored by foreign multi-national corporations, that often pay little to no tax here).
That travesty should end, with a windfall tax on fossil fuel exports over the last 2.5 years of the Covid pandemic, as other nations have done.

Returning to the proposed location, here’s a deeper analysis of the Lake Eyre Basin and Great Artesian Basin of Australia — and their delicate ecosystems:

Please click the Slideplayer embed below
Kati Thanda, by Jody Warren

So how would the Arabana indigenous owners of the Kati Thanda lands be engaged so that whatever is proposed is a result of their own initiatives, consents and overall custodianship of the region, to which they have native title.
Any proposal to develop their lands should be in a way that cares for country, retains National Park status (if not extending it), sustainably regenerates and enhances the environment; and is at least equally if not primarily of benefit to them in the spirit of Truth, Reconciliation, Treaty, Constitutional Recognition and a future of Common Development and Respect.

Localised nodes and ribbons of settlements, agriculture and industry, in our proposal, should always be surrounded by majority tracts of virgin bushland (with mosaics of analog forest plantations as resources), which can then be gradually expanded thanks to the provision of more precious fresh water to the basin (as is happening in the Sea of Galilee).

This can be ensured by development plans that are co-designed with all the stakeholders, with the Arabana being the principal, native title owner-custodians and lead authors of the process; and of the plans themselves, in a #FormFollowsFlow design thinking-led process, which can then become an exemplary model for all future co-developments between native title-holders and our other Australian stakeholders.

The surplus investments and revenues generated by this #SynPlexity (single platform, multi-modes) model should have significant portions ring-fenced for investment into the priorities of indigenous communities in the Kati Thanda region, and right around the entire country.

So over to you, CSIRO to model these simultaneously economy and environmentally-enhancing #InlandForestSea and #MetaLoop proposals?

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NigelReading|ASYNSIS

Architect+Designer, Complexity geometer, Sustainability futurist, TEDx speaker, Asynsis principle: More for Less, Form follows Flow