Recharge mechanisms in an Arid Zone River: Effects of channelisation
AuthorCostelloe, JF; Western, AW; Irvine, EC
Source Title30th Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium
PublisherConference Organising Committee
Document TypeConference Paper
CitationsCostelloe, J. F., Western, A. W. & Irvine, E. C. (2006). Recharge mechanisms in an Arid Zone River: Effects of channelisation. 30th Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium, 1, (1), pp.1-6. Conference Organising Committee.
Access StatusOpen Access
Arid zone, ephemeral rivers typically experience very high transmission losses. Most international studies have identified infiltration into stream sediments and subsequent percolation to the unconfined alluvial aquifer as the major cause of transmission losses. There is relatively little data regarding mechanisms and stores controlling transmission loss processes in Australian arid zone streams, particularly in regards recharge to the unconfined aquifer. This study reports on a field study of recharge mechanisms occurring in the Neales River of the Lake Eyre Basin (northern South Australia). Piezometric monitoring, numerical and analytical modelling were used to identify and quantify recharge to the unconfined aquifer during streamflow events in 2004-2005. Significant recharge only occurred in channelised reaches and rates of recharge did not show a clear relationship with stage but tended to be higher for flow events occurring after longer periods of no flow. Reaches lacking a single, well-defined channel are common in the anastomosing rivers of the Lake Eyre Basin. Piezometers monitoring the alluvial sediments at two locations lacking well-defined channels did not measure any development of a saturated zone in the alluvial aquifer following flow events. The data suggests that most percolation and recharge occurs through the bank, rather than the floodplain and this needs to be taken into account when estimating transmission losses for these river systems.
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