Tarraleah Canal No 1 walk – where is the water?

My walk started well with the Tassie Link bus depositing me on the Lyell Highway at the junction with Butlers Gorge Road, a very isolated spot.  The day was overcast and sufficiently cool to make for extremely comfortable walking.

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Instead of following Butlers Gorge Road I walked over to Tarraleah Canal number 1 and was stunned.  It contained no running water and green slime was growing at the bottom in sections.

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A question pounded through my brain – where was ‘my’ Derwent River?  I was annoyed.  I was two hours’ drive from Hobart and returning home was not an option. I was here to walk my ‘choice’ of the Derwent River, yet no water flowed.  I humphed and sighed and decided to walk beside the Canal to Clark Dam despite the absence of water, and that would be my story.

Years ago Tasmania decided to sell its clean electricity supplies into the national grid and in tough times to buy in essential electricity supplies.  So an underwater pipe was built beneath Bass Strait, which separates Tasmania from mainland Australia.  In recent months the connection has failed, the Bass Link is yet to be repaired and our state has been unable to acquire additional electricity to meet our needs in the foreseeable future. Meanwhile with low water levels in our Hydro Tasmania dams, our local electricity supplies are in danger of being exhausted.  Therefore, when I saw the empty Tarraleah Canal number 1 I jumped to the conclusion that the water from Lake King William had been turned off; I thought this was a sign of our increasingly dire situation.  Later (and in a later post I will explain) I learned I was wrong.  The empty Canal had nothing to do with the Bass Link failure.

I laughed to see the warning sign.

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As later posts will indicate, even when empty this Canal is dangerous and should never be entered.

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