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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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26 Recommendations The Arafura Swamp faces a number of threats including: invasion by weeds damage from feral animals saltwater intrusion inappropriate or altered fire regimes decreased water quality As the Arafura Swamp is an important wetland subject to natural and human influences, it needs to be effectively managed. This requires knowledge of the values and functions of the Swamp and its associated catchments. The resource that maintains the health of the Swamps ecosystem is fresh water. Sound management requires a level of knowledge of the water resource that is appropriate for the assessment of the possible impacts of development and the likely threats to the health of the Swamps ecosystem. This study has identified the need for better hydrological data on the short and longterm river and spring flows into the Swamp. This will require re-opening of the gauging stations G8250002 and G8250003. These stations were closed on completion of the study. There is also a need for better rainfall information in the catchment. This information could be gained if each community in the catchment maintained a daily read rain gauge. The dry season spring flow inputs into the Swamp need to be better understood. This information, which could not be adequately gathered during the period of the study due to the very wet conditions encountered in and around the Swamp, will enable areas to be identified that are sustained either by spring flow or by wet season runoff. The study has identified areas sustained only by wet season river flows as being more susceptible to adverse impacts from deterioration in water quality. Ecosystems will also be identified whose extent and health will vary with the natural variability in spring flows. This knowledge could be gained by a well coordinated program using the local community to measure the conductivity of the water across the plain during the mid to late dry season. Water input from spring flow should have a much higher conductivity than water remaining from flood flows. The environmental health of the Swamp is being threatened by saltwater intrusion. The headward migration of the tidal channels of the Glyde River was identified during the study. The tidal channels have migrated upstream a distance of approximately 4 kilometres over the past 20 years. Options for controlling this headward migration need to be developed now. Sustainable effective management of the Arafura Swamp and its catchment is dependent on Aboriginal landowners and community agencies delivering that management. Consideration should be given to extending the excellent Aboriginal land-management programs that already exist into a catchment based approach. What happens in one part of the catchment often impacts other parts of the catchment. The existing programs address issues at a local scale. Some issues can only be effectively managed at a catchment scale.