Groundwater Models to Improve the Ecology of a Saline Floodplain
Due to the complicated interdependencies between processes moving water and salt within the floodplain, a series of inter-linked models have been developed to assist with management decisions. The models differ by hydrological domain, scale, and dimensionality. Together they simulate surface water, the unsaturated zone, and groundwater on regional, floodplain, and local scales. Outputs from regional models provide boundary conditions for floodplain models, which in turn provide inputs for the local scale models.
Two linked numerical groundwater models simulate floodplain processes in detail. One simulates 3D groundwater flow and solute transport across Pike Floodplain, while the other simulates density-dependent flow and transport in a cross-section through a riverine freshwater lens. The results are interpreted based on (i) ecohydrological requirements for key species of tree, and (ii) impacts on river salinity for downstream users. When combined, the models provide an integrated and interdisciplinary understanding of the hydrology and management of saline floodplains.