Would it be possible logistically to drain a large lake?

7 Answers

  • 4 months ago


    You would just have to dam up all of the sources feeding it (preferably during a particularly dry time), shunt that water around, and then start pumping the water out.

    It wouldn't be easy (and the bigger it is, the harder it will be), but if you google 'drain lake' you'll see dozens of examples.

    People are capable of some pretty impressive stuff when they put their minds to it.

  • 4 months ago

    the main problem with draining a lake is that you have to remove water faster than it is coming in.  Draining the lake would not be an enormous problem if that were not the case. 

    In order to empty a basin of any sort, it would simply require either excavating an outlet as deep as the deepest part of the basin (let it drain out), or require the use of pumps, and then it would just be a matter of pump sizes and numbers and time.  We have the technological ability to do either if needed.  It might be very expensive though.  It could also be possible to stop inflow (dam and divert) and let the lake drain from lack of inflow.

    The main issue isn't the act of emptying so much as keeping it empty.  A basin with a deep outlet carved from it would turn into a river, pretty much. Diverting the inflow can do the job but the water ends up going somewhere just the same.  As to pumping, that sort of thing is done on some pretty big scales all the time.  Open pit mines are lakes that aren't allowed to come into existence by pumping all incoming water.  The turn into lakes when the mine is abandoned though.

    So, it could be done, but to what purpose and at what cost?

  • Paul
    Lv 7
    4 months ago

    Sure, if there was a lower level place to drain it to, and if a channel of sufficient depth could be created.

  • 4 months ago

    Yes. The Aral Sea was a lake lying between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Formerly the fourth largest lake in the world with an area of 68,000 km2 (26,300 sq mi), the Aral Sea has been shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet irrigation projects. By 1997, it had declined to 10% of its original size, splitting into four lakes: the North Aral Sea, the eastern and western basins of the once far larger South Aral Sea, and one smaller intermediate lake. By 2009, the southeastern lake had disappeared and the southwestern lake had retreated to a thin strip at the western edge of the former southern sea; in subsequent years, occasional water flows have led to the southeastern lake sometimes being replenished to a small degree. Satellite images taken by NASA in August 2014 revealed that for the first time in modern history the eastern basin of the Aral Sea had completely dried up. The eastern basin is now called the Aralkum Desert.

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  • 4 months ago

    There are what were rather large lakes drained. For example Lake Bonneville. While the Great Salt Lake still exists (the lowest point of that lake) for the most part it is drained.

    Then there is Lake Lucero, which again was a very large lake in times past. White Sands National Monument is the approximate bottom of that former lake.

    The Salton Sea also comes to mind. It was given a "rebirth" in the last century when the canal bringing water into southern California broke and they could not stop the Colorado river from entering the canal at one end. With irrigation and a lack of sufficient rainfall it is drying up (draining).

    To accomplish this all one has to do is remove water faster then it is coming in. Kind of like what happened to the lake behind Hoover Dam a few years ago, or remove the inflow entirely.

    Some lakes are easier to do this too. Man made lakes are most prone to drying up. Others it would be near impossible. Like any of the Great Lakes that have a large water shed. The smaller the water shed the easier it would be.

  • Bill
    Lv 4
    4 months ago

    Google the images and history of the Aral Sea on the border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.  The large inland fresh water lake is now a desert, photos will show abandoned fishing boats half buried in sand.

  • 4 months ago

    lakes almost always have rivers or streams feeding them and another river or stream draining them. You would have to block, dam, the intakes, and you would need a huge hole somewhere nearby to fill, and huge pumps to do the movement. 

    Possible, but lots of money and time, and result is a hollow that will still fill slowly. and damed up rivers or streams backing up and flooding behind them.

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