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Solarbee installation kicking off in Lake Burley Griffin.

johnboy 26 September 2011 30

The National Capital Authority has announced they’re installing solar powered water circulators into Lake Burley Griffin tomorrow which we understand will be the brightly named Solarbees we looked at in June.

“There’s strong scientific evidence that water circulators can help reduce the intensity of blue-green algae blooms.”

“The nutrient that comes down the river is in a bound form, which blue-green algae cannot readily access. When it hits stratified water it becomes unbound. The water circulators will interrupt the stratification of the water in the lake, so the nutrient can stay bound.”

Two sites have been selected for the trial – one on the river, and the other a lake basin. Each circulator site will be paired with another untreated site with similar characteristics, so there is scientific comparison of the water quality testing results.

“The first water circulator will be installed in Molonglo Reach, with a control site upstream on the Molonglo River,” Mr Rake said.

“The second will be installed near the swimming beach at Yarralumla Bay, and it will be paired with a site in Orana Bay for testing.”

If the trial is successful, the NCA will consider the installation of more units throughout the lake

The first year of the trial, with the two units, will cost $350,000.

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30 Responses to Solarbee installation kicking off in Lake Burley Griffin.
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welkin31 welkin31 9:03 am 29 Sep 11

Is there a website with data history re LBG water quality measurements going back decades ? I have tried google but only come up with pdf reports.

Aeek Aeek 9:40 pm 28 Sep 11

Punter said :

I’m sure the lake is big enough for canoeists and motorboats to co-exist without tangling with each other, it works so well on the roads. I’d love to see the canoe lanes marked around the edge of the lake.

Agreed, bikes and cars mix well – but cars don’t have wakes.

Punter Punter 6:21 pm 28 Sep 11

I’m sure the lake is big enough for canoeists and motorboats to co-exist without tangling with each other, it works so well on the roads. I’d love to see the canoe lanes marked around the edge of the lake.

Deref Deref 7:06 am 28 Sep 11

Bramina said :

Deref said :

Bramina said :

When the wind picks up the lake gets pretty rough. I would imagine that this would cause far more water circulation than a handfull of these solarbees.

Winds only affect the very top layers. I think this is well worth trying.

Actually waves are not just surface phenomena. They extend down several times the distance between waves as I recall.

I’m not a scientist, but I believe you’re only partially right. Wave action does affect water below the surface, but the movement is vertical – the water moves up and back down so there’s little actual mixing. These gadgets are an attempt to de-stratify the water – to mix the oxygen-poor deeper layers with the more oxygen-rich upper layers, reducing the chemical action that makes nutrients available to algae. Neither waves nor (the gods help us) motorboats do that.

Will it work? Damned if I know, but the lake’s a bloody mess and there must be valid studies into whether these devices actually work or not. Shirley the government’s taken account of those studies. Shirley.

aussielyn aussielyn 10:22 pm 27 Sep 11

Gary Rake & NCA should get top marks for trying to fix the problem. I am sure many hours have been spent by his dedicated team working on this problem. It is all transparent what the price is and they should be congratulated on disclosing this. Of course they will be dammed if they do and if they don’t.
They tried and took a risk, good on them. Why are there so negative comments on innovative inventions such as these? If they work what is the problem?

Bramina Bramina 10:11 pm 27 Sep 11

Deref said :

Bramina said :

When the wind picks up the lake gets pretty rough. I would imagine that this would cause far more water circulation than a handfull of these solarbees.

Winds only affect the very top layers. I think this is well worth trying.

Actually waves are not just surface phenomena. They extend down several times the distance between waves as I recall.

That is part of the problem with the lake as I understand it. The water is shallow, especially on the eastern side, so the waves keep stirring up the silt at the bottom, which causes the water to be murky which prevents stabilising bacteria from growing, which in turn leave nutrients for algal blooms. In fact, towards Scrivener dam the water can be quite clear.

Aeek Aeek 9:30 pm 27 Sep 11

Aeek said :

couldn’t

Aeek Aeek 9:29 pm 27 Sep 11

Punter said :

Why don’t they just let motor boats run on the lake from time to time?

because motors turn intelligent people into idiots? That would be the opinion of my canoeing mates when they let water skiers onto the lake. They could resist exceeding the speed limit for the lolz.

chewy14 chewy14 9:29 pm 27 Sep 11

Henry82 said :

It must be so easy to convince the government into buying junk, this and the libraries paying for music downloads are two perfect examples.

Jumped on the database, searched solarbee. first result in journals. “The SPC (SolarBee solar powered water circulation) was unable to alter water quality and nutrient levels in hatchery ponds and thus failed to control P. parvum”.

Wow, with those exhaustive research skills, I’m surprised the government hasn’t hired you as its chief scientist.
You could have global warming solved in weeks.

Punter Punter 8:18 pm 27 Sep 11

Why don’t they just let motor boats run on the lake from time to time? I’m sure that will churn up the algae enough to solve the problem, and it wouldn’t cost the taxpayer as much too.

2620watcher 2620watcher 7:49 pm 27 Sep 11

I give it 30 days to be:
Sunk
Towed away
Have the solar panels knicked.

Not sure I’d be keen leaving $350k of my cash floating around in the lake.

AAMC AAMC 12:47 pm 27 Sep 11

It seems like a good idea and if it works and the lake can stay open all year round then excellent!
But right now there is still the problem of debris at the Molonglo reach water-ski area, is it ever going to be removed and reopened or has waterskiing run its race and lost in LBG??

krats krats 8:32 am 27 Sep 11

Winds only affect the very top layers. I think this is well worth trying.

In that case I have a bridge foe sale,,,its in Sydney.And I can deliver it within 3 days of your order.

Deref Deref 7:49 am 27 Sep 11

Bramina said :

When the wind picks up the lake gets pretty rough. I would imagine that this would cause far more water circulation than a handfull of these solarbees.

Winds only affect the very top layers. I think this is well worth trying.

Henry82 Henry82 4:39 am 27 Sep 11

It must be so easy to convince the government into buying junk, this and the libraries paying for music downloads are two perfect examples.

Jumped on the database, searched solarbee. first result in journals. “The SPC (SolarBee solar powered water circulation) was unable to alter water quality and nutrient levels in hatchery ponds and thus failed to control P. parvum”.

Bramina Bramina 9:12 pm 26 Sep 11

When the wind picks up the lake gets pretty rough. I would imagine that this would cause far more water circulation than a handfull of these solarbees.

Watson Watson 7:14 pm 26 Sep 11

I really lack the knowledge to know if the scientific evidence stacks up, but I’m very interested in hearing the results of this trial. Though I’m also not sure that the comparison with the untreated sites will give a conclusive result.

I am crossing everything that it will work, because I’m fed up having to go further out so often to cool down on those 35+ degree afternoons.

Erg0 Erg0 4:48 pm 26 Sep 11

Well, we certainly wouldn’t want to be introducing any chemicals into our H2O.

Postalgeek Postalgeek 3:55 pm 26 Sep 11

Somebody’s left an Innovations catalogue in the NCA reception area.

Wonder if the thing’s made out of durable yet stylish polyresin?

krats krats 3:33 pm 26 Sep 11

Order in the next 10 minutes and get a set of steak knives for only $2.50

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