The origins of the Todd River begin in the MacDonnell Ranges, where it flows past the Telegraph Station, almost through the centre of Alice Springs, through Heavitree Gap and continuing on for some distance before it becomes a tributary of the Hale River, that eventually flows into Lake Eyre in South Australia.
The Todd catchment is a dryland river system, containing sparse vegetation. During significant rain, much of the sediment is carried downstream, being mainly clays and silts, the sediment is suspended in the river flow, causing the water to appear brown.
The Todd River is an ephemeral river and much of the time appears dry, except for the occasional water hole along it’s length. It is the River Red Gum seen growing along the river course, that is the indicator of water not far below the river bed surface.
1974 saw the wettest 24 hour period in the Todd catchment history. The 1980’s, saw the power plant get flooded in 1983 and the Todd Mall go under water when the river broke its bank in 1988. In 2001, Alice Springs was isolated by water. Early 2010 saw the wettest start to a year since 1974, with Alice Springs picking up more than its annual rainfall in the first two months of the year.
On the rare occasion there is any significant rainfall in the region, visitors and locals alike can bear witness to the Todd River in flow. Following are some images of water in the Todd River…
Footnote & References
- 185 Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Journal 61 (2011) 185-195.PDF by Ceri Lovitt, (Manuscript received July 2011), www.bom.gov.au/jshess/docs/2011/lovitt.pdf, 10 Jan 2012: In the Australian region, spring 2010 was the wettest spring on record with above average rainfall across most of the country. … Australian region.
- Wetlands of the Alice Springs Water Control District, https://denr.nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/253770/Wetlands_of_ASWCD_04-2015A.PDF .
- Bridge for the Todd River, Alice Springs, Parliament of Australia, https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id:%22media/pressrel/HPR04006810%22;src1=sm1
- An ancient river system, by Nicole Lee and Stewart Brash, 28 Mar 2008, https://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2007/12/04/2120558.htm