Lake Argyle is the largest artificial lake in Australia with an area of 741sqkms. The lake was built for the Ord Development River Scheme and is located 70kms from Kununurra in the State’s north region.
Though there are several other lakes like Lake Kununurra in the region the main water source for the farmers comes from Lake Argyle. Farmers use the waters of the lake to irrigate their crops such as tropical fruits, maize, peanuts, sorghum and sunflowers.
The Lake Argyle was create by damming part of the Ord River. The dam walls are earth filled and have become one of the most efficient in Australia in the ratio of the size of the dam to the amount of water stored.
Unlike Lake Kununurra (another artificial lake) Argyle water levels can fluctuate about 3 metres. Being the main water source for the area, there has to be a balance between catchment, evaporation and requirements for irrigation. Due to this fluctuation there is considerably less vegetation along the banks of the lake.
The lake contains only fresh water. Many of the original vegetation such as trees have died due to the change in conditions. Many native trees which were use to the dry, arid conditions have died as a result of the high water levels.
The lake also supports an abundance of bird and wild life.