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Arafura swamp water resources study



Arafura swamp water resources study


Williams, D.; Chudleigh, I.; Jolly, P.


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT; Report ; 45/2003




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).





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Dept. of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment

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Report ; 45/2003

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17 The Arafura Swamp When fully covered by floodwater the Arafura Swamp has an approximate area of 700 square kilometres, excluding the coastal plain. The area of the swamp, however, varies depending upon the intensity of the wet season. The swamp forms numerous channels but lacks any continuous streams. There are only a few open water bodies with most being full of vegetation. This vegetation plays an important role in the dynamics of the swamp. Vegetation regulates water flow throughout the system resulting in flow being very slow. It also has an impact on water quality and acts as a seed trap. Access to the Swamp during the time this study was undertaken was difficult due to the prevalence of unusually wet conditions. The data presented in Figure 12 indicates that the 1999/2000 and 2000/2001 wet seasons were 2 of the wettest years for the periods that the gauging stations G8250002 and G8250003 have been operated. Water resource data and anecdotal evidence for the region indicates that 1997/98 and 1998/99 were also very wet years. Hence data collection was largely limited to the edge of the Swamp and aerial reconnaissance. Figure 15: Arafura Swamp Inflows. This figure shows inflows into the swamp and channel formations within the swamp. A rainfall runoff model was created for the catchment to study the flood behaviour of the catchment. The model was used to generate floods of varying frequency and predict the response of the swamp to such floods. The swamp acts as a large retention basin (storage basin) and therefore peak level to peak level correlations between river flows and the swamp height do not apply. The