Lake Cave’s Water Rises High

Capes Foundation has announced that the water level in Margaret River’s Lake Cave has reached its highest point in decades, offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for visitors to experience the cave in this majestic state.

The Calgardup bush fire of 2021 burnt significant areas of vegetation which would normally absorb large amounts of water from the soil. With less vegetation present, a greater amount of rainwater has been able to permeate the limestone ridge. Consequently, the increased water flow through the limestone has caused the lake level in the cave to rise.

Capes Foundation Director Steve Harrison provided insights into the phenomenon.

“The water in the cave’s lake originated as rainfall on flat ground about 1 or 2 km to the east. It is now making its way through the limestone ridge towards the coast, where it emerges as springs, including the one at Conto Spring Beach.

During the summer of 2021/22 a large bush fire burnt much of the surrounding vegetation which would naturally draw up a lot of the soil water. As a result, a larger quantity of water is now flowing through the limestone, leading to an elevation in the water table within the porous rock.

This event clearly demonstrates the interconnected nature of our environment and how changes in above ground vegetation impact the water levels below ground.”

Capes Foundation have been studying the water levels in Lake Cave for more than 15 years through their Lake Cave Hydrology Project, which has recorded the fluctuations in water levels in response to changing vegetation.

It is hard to predict how long the water levels in the cave will remain this high, so both visitors and the community are encouraged to seize the opportunity to witness what might be a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience at one of Western Australia’s most beautiful caves.