Australian non-perennial rivers: Global lessons and research opportunities

Shanafield, Margaret and Blanchette, Melanie and Daly, Edoardo and Wells, Naomi and Burrows, Ryan and Korbel, Katherine and Rau, Gabriel and Bourke, Sarah and Wakelin-King, Gresley and Holland, Aleicia and Ralph, Timothy and McGrath, Gavin and Robson, Belinda and Fowler, Keirnan and Andersen, Martin and Yu, Songyan and Jones, Christopher and Waltham, Nathan and Banks, Eddie and Flatley, Alissa and Leigh, Catherine and Maxwell, Sally and Siebers, Andre and Bond, Nick and Beesley, Leah and Hose, Grant and Iles, Jordan and Cartwright, Ian and Reid, Michael and de Castro Taylor, Thiaggo and Duvert, Clement (2024) Australian non-perennial rivers: Global lessons and research opportunities. Journal of Hydrology, 634. ISSN 0022-1694

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Non-perennial rivers are valuable water resources that support millions of humans globally, as well as unique riparian ecosystems. In Australia, the Earth’s driest inhabited continent, over 70% of rivers are non-perennial due to a combination of ancient landscape, dry climates, highly variable rainfall regimes, and human interventions that have altered riverine environments. Here, we review Australian non-perennial river research incorporating geomorphology, hydrology, biogeochemistry, ecology, and Indigenous knowledges. The dominant research themes in Australia were drought, floods, salinity, dryland ecology, and water management. Future research will likely follow these themes but must address emerging threats to river systems due to climate change and other anthropogenic impacts. Four high level opportunities for future research are identified, namely: (1) integrating Indigenous and western scientific knowledge; (2) quantifying climate change impacts on hydrological and biological function; (3) clarifying the meaning and measurement of “restoration” of non-perennial systems; and (4) understanding the role of groundwater. These challenges will require inter- and multi-disciplinary efforts supported by technological advances. The evolving body of knowledge about Australian rivers provides a foundation for comparison with other dryland areas globally where recognition of the importance of non-perennial rivers is expanding.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Non-perennial Rivers Australia Drought refugia Ephemeral rivers Arid zone hydrology Indigenous knowledge
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Institutes and Academies > Wales Institute for Science & Art (WISA) > Academic Discipline: Engineering
Depositing User: Alissa Flatley
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2024 11:23
Last Modified: 22 May 2024 14:31

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