One of the most significant sources of water wastage in Australia is loss from small storage dams, either by seepage or evaporation. Over much of Australia, evaporative demand routinely exceeds precipitation. This paper outlines first, methodologies and measurement techniques to quantify the rate of evaporative loss from fresh water storages. These encompass high-accuracy water balance monitoring; determination of the validity of alternative estimation equations, in particular the FAO56 Penman- Monteith ETo methodology; and the commencement of CFD modeling to determine a 'dam factor' in relation to practical atmospheric measurement techniques. Second, because the application of chemical monolayers is the only feasible alternative to the high cost of physically covering the storages to retard evaporation, the use of cetyl alcohol-based monolayers is reviewed, and preliminary research on their degradation by photolytic action, by wind break-up and by microbial degradation reported. Similarly, preliminary research on monolayer visualisation techniques for field application is reported; and potential enhancement of monolayers by other chemicals and attendant water quality issues are considered.
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