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Linking water-resource models to ecosystem-response models to guide water-resource planning -- an example from the Murray--Darling Basin, Australia

Lester, Rebecca E., Webster, Ian T., Fairweather, Peter G. and Young, William J. 2011, Linking water-resource models to ecosystem-response models to guide water-resource planning -- an example from the Murray--Darling Basin, Australia, Marine and freshwater research, vol. 62, no. 3, pp. 279-289.

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Title Linking water-resource models to ecosystem-response models to guide water-resource planning -- an example from the Murray--Darling Basin, Australia
Author(s) Lester, Rebecca E.ORCID iD for Lester, Rebecca E. orcid.org/0000-0003-2682-6495
Webster, Ian T.
Fairweather, Peter G.
Young, William J.
Journal name Marine and freshwater research
Volume number 62
Issue number 3
Start page 279
End page 289
Total pages 11
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Place of publication Collingwood, Vic.
Publication date 2011-03-18
ISSN 1323-1650
1448-6059
Keyword(s) climate change
Coorong
ecosystem states
environmental flows
environmental management
hydrodynamic modelling
Ramsar wetland
water extraction
Summary Objectively assessing ecological benefits of competing watering strategies is difficult. We present a framework of coupled models to compare scenarios, using the Coorong, the estuary for the MurrayDarling River system in South Australia, as a case study. The framework links outputs from recent modelling of the effects of climate change on water availability across the MurrayDarling Basin to a hydrodynamic model for the Coorong, and then an ecosystem-response model. The approach has significant advantages, including the following: (1) evaluating management actions is straightforward because of relatively tight coupling between impacts on hydrology and ecology; (2) scenarios of 111 years reveal the impacts of realistic climatic and flow variability on Coorong ecology; and (3) ecological impact is represented in the model by a series of ecosystem states, integrating across many organisms, not just iconic species. We applied the approach to four flow scenarios, comparing conditions without development, current water-use levels, and two predicted future climate scenarios. Simulation produced a range of hydrodynamic conditions and consequent distributions of ecosystem states, allowing managers to compare scenarios. This approach could be used with many climates and/or management actions for optimisation of flow delivery to environmental assets.
Language eng
Field of Research 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
Socio Economic Objective 960903 Coastal and Estuarine Water Management
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2011, CSIRO
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30044235

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