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Water quality in karstlands at Mole Creek, Tasmania

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Eberhard, R and Houshold, I (2002) Water quality in karstlands at Mole Creek, Tasmania. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 136. pp. 159-172. ISSN 0080-4703

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Abstract

Samples from 28 sites at Mole Creek were analysed for a range of water quality indicators. Low or negligible bacterial counts were obtained for sites with mainly forested catchments; cleared catchments gave more variable and generally higher results. Higher turbidity and nitrate levels were recorded in cleared catchments, suggesting increased erosion and nutrient loading of streams. A comparison of water quality parameters at streamsinks and related springs shows that the karst aquifer is not an efficient water purifier. Rapid capture of surface run off via solutional openings, coupled with the pipe-like efficiency with which karst conduits transfer the water, constrains the potential for the karst aquifer to ameliorate water pollution problems. This connection between surface and underground environments is a key consideration for sustainable land management in karstlands. We conclude that karst aquifers have more in common with surface streams than non-karstic ground-water systems, in terms of their water purification properties. Water from two bores was found to be relatively free of microbiological pollution, despite being located in disturbed catchments. This suggests that ground-water sourced from bores is less affected by activities at the surface, although further work is required to confirm this.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, RST, Van Diemens Land, natural history, science, ecology, taxonomy, botany, zoology, geology, geography, papers & proceedings, Australia, UTAS Library
Journal or Publication Title: Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Page Range: pp. 159-172
ISSN: 0080-4703
Additional Information: Copyright Royal Society of Tasmania
Date Deposited: 21 May 2012 02:39
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:33
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/13518
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