When tourists arrive in Esperance, they make a beeline for the Pink Lake the Western Australian south coast town is famous for. The problem? It’s not pink anymore.
Conservation experts believe the fate of Pink Lake was sealed years ago when a highway and rail line cut off the natural flow of water into the salt lake system. Super saline conditions are needed to support the green algae that accumulates the beta-carotene pigment, the same pigment that colours carrots, which turned the lake pink. “With the loss of the channel, these salts aren’t flushing through into Pink Lake, and as a result Pink Lake doesn’t turn pink any more,” State Government conservation officer Steven Butler said. Salt mining on the lake, which has long since shut down, was also a factor.
Tourism Esperance chairman Wayne Halliday said the organisation was lobbying the Western Australian Department of Lands to remove any reference to Pink Lake on official documents and replace it with the original name. “We are currently seeking to have the Pink Lake, just the lake name, reverted back to its original gazetted name of Lake Spencer,” Mr Halliday said.