Territory Stories

Modelling dry season flows and predicting the impact of water extraction of flagship species



Modelling dry season flows and predicting the impact of water extraction of flagship species


Georges, Aurthur; Webster, Ian; Guarino, Fiorenzo; Jolly, Peter; Thoms, Martin; Doody, Sean; CRC for Freshwater Ecology (Australia); University of Canberra. Applied Ecology Research Group


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT; 57/2002; National River health program




Daly River


The aim of this project is to contribute to recommendations on environmental flows to ensure that they are consistent with maintaining the biota of the Daly River, given competing demands of agriculture, recreation and tourism, conservation and Aboriginal culture. Our focus is on flow, connectivity and water temperatures.


Made available by via Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT); Submitted to the Northern Territory. Department of Infrastructure Planning and Environment

Table of contents

1. Project Details -- 2. Executive Summary -- 3. Interpretation of the Brief -- 4. Variation of the Brief -- 5. Background -- 6. The Daly Drainage -- 7. The Pig-nosed turtle -- 8. Analysis of Historical Flow Data -- 9. Analysis of Contemporary Flow Data -- 10. Modelling Flow Reduction -- 11. Water Temperature Versus Flow -- 12. Impact on Flagship Species -- 13. References




Environmental Flows; Modelling; Biota

Publisher name

Northern Territory Government

Place of publication



Final Report


57/2002; National River health program


75 pages ; 30 cm

File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

70 river from unacceptable reductions in flow in critical years. This will also remove difficult considerations on the timing of water extraction within years. The linkage between groundwater in the areas flagged for agriculture and river flow is not well understood. In the absence of good working models to predict the change in river flow against groundwater extraction from adjacent aquifers, an adaptive approach must be adopted. This would require accurate monitoring of the quantity of water extracted and when it is extracted, accurate monitoring of dry season flows, and accurate estimates of the flows that would be expected in the absence of water resource development. The latter estimates are possible from historical data because of precision in the recession curves once the contribution of surface flow becomes negligible. Research needs to be undertaken to determine how far from the river groundwater extraction must be in order to not have an un-buffered, immediate impact on the flows in the river. This distance will set the dimensions of the buffer zone that should be established along the river corridor. The quality of data on dry season flows obtained from the Department could be improved. There needs to be a greater commitment to maintaining river gauging stations and to quality control over the data collected. The stations need to be upgraded to more accurately measure dry-season flows. More intensive monitoring of dry season flows at multiple locations is needed if the adaptive approach is to be effective in governing water allocations. References Anderson, E.R. 1954. Energy budget studies, Water Loss Investigations-Lake Hefner Studies. U.S. Geol. Surv. Prof. Pap. 269. Barmuta, L.A., R. Marchant, and P.S. Lake. 1992. Degradation of Australian streams and progress towards conservation and management in Victoria. Pages 65-79 in P.J. Boon, P. Calow and G.E. Petts (eds.) River Conservation and Management. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester. Bjorndal K.A. et al. (1994). Ingestion of marine debris by juvenile sea turtles in coastal Florida habitats. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 28, 154-158. Bowen, I.S. 1926. The ratio of heat losses by conduction and by evaporation from any water surface. Phys. Rev. 27: 779-787. Bunn, S.E. 1988. Life histories of some benthic invertebrates from streams of the northern jarrah forest. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 39:785-804. Bunn, S.E., and Arthington, A.H. (2002). Basic principles and ecological consequences of altered flow regimes for aquatic biodiversity. Ecological Management, 30(4) 492507 Buse, A. et al. (1999). Effects of elevated temperature on multi-species interactions: the case of pedunculate oak, winter moth, and tits. Functional Ecology 13, 74-82. Chambers, P.A., E.E. Prepas, H.R. Hamilton, and M.L. Bothwell. 1991. Current velocity and its effects on aquatic macrophytes in flowing waters. Ecological Applications 1:249257.