Field and modelling investigations of fresh-water plume behaviour in response to infrequent high-precipitation events, Sydney Estuary, Australia
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Runoff from the urban environment is a major contributor of non-point source contamination for many estuaries, yet the ultimate fate of this stormwater within the estuary is frequently unknown in detail. The relationship between catchment rainfall and estuarine response within the Sydney Estuary (Australia) was investigated in the present study. A verified hydrodynamic model (Environmental Fluid Dynamics Computer Code) was utilised in concert with measured salinity data and rainfall measurements to determine the relationship between rainfall and discharge to the estuary, with particular attention being paid to a significant high-precipitation event. A simplified rational method for calculating runoff based upon daily rainfall, subcatchment area and runoff coefficients was found to replicate discharge into the estuary associated with the monitored event. Determining fresh-water supply based upon estuary conditions is a novel technique which may assist those researching systems where field-measured runoff data are not available and where minor field-measured information on catchment characteristics are obtainable. The study concluded that since the monitored fresh-water plume broke down within the estuary, contaminants associated with stormwater runoff due to high-precipitation events (daily rainfall > 50 mm) were retained within the system for a longer period than was previously recognised.
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Copyright 2011 Elsevier. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified