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Title: Temporal variation in stable isotopes (O-18 and H-2) and major ion concentrations within the Darling River between Bourke and Wilcannia due to variable flows, saline groundwater influx and evaporation
Authors: Meredith, KT
Hollins, SE
Hughes, CE
Cendón, DI
Hankin, SI
Stone, DJM
Keywords: Stable isotopes
Climatic change
Issue Date: 30-Nov-2009
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Meredith, K. T., Hollins, S. E., Hughes, C. E., Cendón, D. I., Hankin, S., & Stone, D. J. M. (2009). Temporal variation in stable isotopes (O-18 and H-2) and major ion concentrations within the Darling River between Bourke and Wilcannia due to variable flows, saline groundwater influx and evaporation. Journal of Hydrology, 378(3-4), 313-324. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2009.09.036
Abstract: The Darling River faces environmental pressures from both climate change and anthropogenic influences leading to a reduction in fresh water availability for the river system. This study uses temporal hydrochemical and stable isotope data (18O and 2H) that has been collected over a five-year period (2002 to 2007), as part of the Global Network for Isotopes in Rivers (GNIR) programme, which is aimed at monitoring hydrological processes in large river systems throughout the world. Daily stream flow, monthly stable isotope and major ion chemistry data is presented for sampling locations along the Darling River at Bourke, Louth and Wilcannia, as well as additional more detailed data from locations near Glen Villa. The hydrochemical data is used to partition groundwater influx that is not readily separable by using only the available isotopic data. Individual flow events in the river were found to be isotopically distinct but the Local Evaporation Lines (LELs) that develop after these events have a similar slope indicating similar climatic conditions across this region. After a storm event, fresh waters that are isotopically depleted are introduced to the system and d-excess (d) values return towards meteoric values. During low flow, the Cl−, Na+, Mg2+, SO42−, δ18O and δ2H values all increase systematically, and d values become more negative. Hydrochemical and isotopic tracers in conjunction with high resolution sampling strategies have been used to quantify the contribution of evaporation, bank storage release and saline groundwater influx to the evolution of the river waters. Fractional contributions (% of volume) of groundwater to the river water were calculated for different reaches using Cl− concentrations, δ18O and d values and it was found that river waters comprised of approximately 60–99% saline groundwater during zero flow. The reduced water levels in the river during the drought conditions experienced in the period of this study had detrimental impacts on the surface water system by providing a pathway for saline groundwaters to discharge into the river system. Persistent drought and continued over-abstraction of surface waters will lead to further saline groundwater intrusion along this reach of the river. This work shows that a suite of hydrochemical and isotopic tracers are needed on spatially and temporally significant scales to unravel the hydrological complexities of dryland river systems such as the Darling River. © 2009, Elsevier Ltd.
Gov't Doc #: 1601
ISSN: 0022-1694
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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