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Water Sources of Upland Swamps in Eastern Australia: Implications for System Integrity with Aquifer Interference and a Changing Climate

1
Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia
2
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Locked Bag 2001, Kirrawee DC, NSW 2232, Australia
3
Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(1), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11010102
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 28 December 2018 / Accepted: 2 January 2019 / Published: 9 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology)
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Abstract

Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone (THPSS) in Eastern Australia are Groundwater Dependent Terrestrial Ecosystems that occur in the headwaters of streams on low relief plateaus. Like upland swamps and peatlands globally, they provide base flow to downstream catchments. However, these swamps are subject to aquifer interference from mining and groundwater extraction and are threatened by urbanization and climate change. We collected winter and summer water samples from swamps in two highland regions of Eastern Australia. Water from the swamps was analyzed for hydrogen (δ2H) and oxygen (δ18O) isotopes and compared with rainwater, surface water and groundwater samples from the surrounding bedrock aquifers to identify likely swamp water sources. Radon (222Rn) was used as an environmental tracer to determine whether the swamps were predominantly groundwater or rainwater fed. Four out of five swamps sampled in the Blue Mountains had greater than 30% of water derived from the surrounding bedrock aquifer, whereas swamps in the Southern Highlands received less than 15% of water from the surrounding aquifer. The water sources for swamps in both regions are controlled by catchment morphology, e.g., valley shape. Understanding water sources of these systems is critical for the determination of likely impacts on THPSS from aquifer interference activities and a changing climate. View Full-Text
Keywords: upland swamps; peatland; radon; isotopes; aquifer connectivity; water table; groundwater dependent terrestrial ecosystems upland swamps; peatland; radon; isotopes; aquifer connectivity; water table; groundwater dependent terrestrial ecosystems
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Cowley, K.L.; Fryirs, K.A.; Chisari, R.; Hose, G.C. Water Sources of Upland Swamps in Eastern Australia: Implications for System Integrity with Aquifer Interference and a Changing Climate. Water 2019, 11, 102.

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