Ecological perspectives on regulation and water allocation for the Ord River, Western Australia

Doupé, R.G., and Pettit, N.E. (2002) Ecological perspectives on regulation and water allocation for the Ord River, Western Australia. River Research and Applications: an international journal devoted to river research and management, 18 (3). pp. 307-320.

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Abstract

Water management agencies throughout Australia are attempting to find a balance between the water requirements of ecological and socio-economic environments as part of a holistic approach to managing flow-dependent river ecosystems. Environmental water provisions are under consideration for the Ord River in far northern Western Australia. This river has been regulated for irrigation and there are plans for substantial expansion. Like other semi-arid and tropical rivers, however, the hydrology of the Ord River is highly variable and unpredictable, and therefore, proportionate water release strategies for the environment that are based on average monthly flows are unsuitable. Regulation continues to produce pronounced ecological changes throughout the river system as the impacts of flow regime are negated. There is a dichotomy in optimal flow regimes for the contrasting management aspirations of ecological restoration based on low seasonal flows, and the dilution flows required for the drainage of agricultural effluent. Whilst current agricultural land and water management practices continue, the two cannot coincide, and consequently, a decision should be made regarding which environmental water allocation holds the primary value. Such a decision would guide the appropriate dry season flow regime on the lower Ord River.

Item ID: 3485
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: river regulation; flow variability; flow regimes; irrigation; environmental water provisions
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ISSN: 1535-1467
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2009 04:12
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0799 Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 079901 Agricultural Hydrology (Drainage, Flooding, Irrigation, Quality, etc) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960999 Land and Water Management of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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