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Title: Stable water isotope investigation of the Barwon–Darling River system, Australia
Other Titles: Monitoring isotopes in rivers: creation of the global network of isotopes in rivers (GNIR) results of a coordinated research project 2002-2006
Authors: Hughes, CE
Stone, DJM
Gibson, JJ
Meredith, KT
Sadek, MA
Cendón, DI
Hankin, SI
Hollins, SE
Morrison, TN
Keywords: Agriculture
Climatic change
Ground water
Land use
Species diversity
Stable isotopes
Water supply
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: International Atomic Energy Agency
Citation: Hughes, C. E., Stone, D. J. M., Meredith, K. T., Cendon, D. I., Hankin, S. I., Hollins, S. E., & Morrison, T. N. (2012). Stable water isotope investigation of the Barwon-Darling River system, Australia. In IAEA-TECDOC-1673, Monitoring Isotopes in Rivers: Creation of the Global Network of Isotopes in Rivers (GNIR) results of a coordinated research project 2002-2006, Vienna, International Atomic Energy Agency, (pp.97-110). Retrieved from
Series/Report no.: IAEA-TECDOC;1673
Abstract: The Murray-Darling Basin is the largest river basin in Australia and is host to agriculture, recreation, water supply reservoirs and significant biodiversity. Through land use practices and climate change there is the potential for significant disruption to the natural hydrological system of the basin. The Barwon-Darling River, in the upper part of the Murray Darling Basin, is primarily in a semi-arid landscape which is subject to significant evaporation, yet evaporative losses from the river remain poorly described. The stable isotope composition of groundwaters has become widely used over the past several decades as an indicator of the circumstances and geographical locations of aquifer recharge, though applications to surface water budgets have been far less extensive. A global isotopic observation initiative, the Global Network for Isotopes in Rivers (GNIR), focussed in Australia on the dryland Barwon-Darling River system. We report on drought driven isotopic signatures in the Barwon-Darling River during 2002-2007 and estimate that the amount of water lost by the Barwon-Darling River system due to evaporation may be up to 80% during severe drought periods. Runoff ratios have been commonly estimated to be between 0.1 and 1% and there is evidence of groundwater exchange with the river. This work highlights the role of stable water isotopes in assessing the amount of water lost from the river by direct evaporation, and in quantifying groundwater inputs and ungauged losses from the river. © The Authors
Gov't Doc #: 9982
ISBN: 978-92-0-126810-5
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