The hunter River estuary water quality model

Engineers Australia
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Australasian Coasts and Ports 2019 Conference, 2019, pp. 451-457
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© Australasian Coasts and Ports 2019 Conference. All rights reserved. This paper presents a detailed hydrodynamic and water quality model to simulate ecological processes in the Hunter River estuary. Following an extensive 3-year multi-disciplinary field campaign, the model was developed to assess total catchment management options. The model outcomes are linked to existing water sharing plans, pollution reduction plans and coastal reforms underway in NSW. Initially a detailed scoping study was undertaken to determine the values and requirements of the key stakeholders across the catchment. Data gaps were subsequently prioritised, and an inter-agency modelling oversight committee was formed to ensure that the modelling tools would be accepted across the region. Following these developmental stages, a field program was initiated which included: estuary wide flow gauging and water quality assessments, microbial linkages, ecotoxicological assessments, sedimentation dynamics, DNA sequencing, qPCR analyses, catchment hydrological flux measurements, nutrient mesocosm experiments, bathymetry surveys and the development of crop irrigation modules. The field data analyses resulted in a conceptual model of the eco-hydraulics of the estuary. A robust numerical model was formulated through an extensive process of external peer review. A source model was selected that ensured the broadest flexibility and ongoing usage rates. A multi-disciplinary approach was undertaken to ensure the model represents a wide range of estuarine processes. The final model is currently undergoing additional peer review, calibration/validation and simulation testing.
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