Modelling the ionic composition of streams for improved management of salinity

Summary

Stream salinity is a major environmental problem in Australia however much of the existing research is based on measurements of stream electrical conductivity (EC) which provides little information on the type of salts present.  This is a problem as different salts have different solubility.  For example chloride salts are highly soluble and can concentrate in streams whereas bicarbonate salts will precipitate out at lower concentrations and pose less of a threat to stream water quality and aquatic health.  Most stream salinity models are based on EC measurements with the assumption that the values are based on the presence of chloride salts.  In this project we will extend these models to account for the different types of salts found in streams.  This is crucial for better targeting our salinity management to streams that are dominated by chloride salts.

Supervisor(s)

Associate Professor Thomas Bishop

Research Location

Sydney Institute of Agriculture - Australian Technology Park

Program Type

PHD

Synopsis

The project will have a field and modelling component.  The field work will be based in the Muttama creek catchment in southern NSW where we have been monitoring stream salinity since 2010 which augments a network of 6 flow meters.  The field work will involve maintaining the network and collecting new data.  This will be used to test a stream salinity model (e.g. CATSALT) in 3 types of sub-catchments in terms of salts (i) chloride-dominant (ii) bicarbonate-dominant (iii) mixed chloride-bicarbonate signal.  A mineral weathering (source of bicarbonate salts) component will be incorporated into the stream salinity model to see if it can improve the predictions for streams that are dominated by bicarbonate salts or a have a mixed signal.  The student will gain valuable experience in hydrological field work and modelling.

Additional Information

The project requires potential students to apply for competitive scholarships.

HDR Inherent Requirements
In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Keywords

hydrology, water, water quality, salinity, Modelling

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1802

Other opportunities with Associate Professor Thomas Bishop