Turbid flow through a tropical reservoir (Lake Dalrymple, Queensland, Australia): responses to a summer storm event

Faithful, John W., and Griffiths, Dilwyn J. (2000) Turbid flow through a tropical reservoir (Lake Dalrymple, Queensland, Australia): responses to a summer storm event. Lakes and Reservoirs: research and management, 5 (4). pp. 231-247.

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Abstract

The first flood event following a prolonged dry period is described for an impoundment, Lake Dalrymple, in tropical north-eastern Australia. The event, in January 1996, generated substantial flow in the two main inflow sources: the Burdekin River from the north and the Suttor River from the south. Flow through the Burdekin River peaked early and then subsided to a lower level, but flow through the Suttor River persisted at a moderate level for over 15 days after the initial inflow. An extensive water quality survey was conducted on 16 January 1996 (seven days after the initial dam overflow) to determine the nature of the inflows originating from the two major subcatchments feeding the reservoir as they entered and passed through the impoundment. The inflow comprising waters of high turbidity and low conductivity occupied the mid-column region along the two major inflow channels through the impoundment to the dam wall. The suspended particulate material in the form of silt and clay sized particles remained in suspension as the flow passed through the reservoir, due in part to the low ionic strength of the inflow and the relative densities of the inflowing and receiving waters. For both river sources, more than 50% of the total nitrogen and almost all of the total phosphorus were bound to the suspended particulate matter. Much of this was exported in the flow over the spillway. The highly turbid nature of the inflow resulted in strong attenuation of down-welling photosynthetically active radiation (up to maximum attenuation values of 12.24 m–1 in the reservoir where the euphotic depth was only 0.38 m). The irradiance reflectance and the scattering coefficient were considerably higher than any reported for other Australian inland waters. Concentrations of viable chlorophyll a in the surface waters were very low (maximum value 3.4 μg L–1) because of the highly turbid conditions and extensive dilution by the inflow. The results of this study provide an example of the significant impact a large inflow of turbid, low conductance water can have on a large reservoir in the arid tropics following a prolonged dry period. During inflow events such as the one described in this paper, the reservoir becomes riverine in nature, and large amounts of suspended particulate matter and associated nutrients are transported through the reservoir.

Item ID: 26090
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1320-5331
Keywords: tropical reservoir; turbidity; water column intrusion
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2013 01:44
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060204 Freshwater Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9611 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water > 961102 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water in Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 100%
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