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Storage in south-eastern Australian catchments
  • Alexander Jack Verney Buzacott,
  • Willem Vervoort
Alexander Jack Verney Buzacott
The University of Sydney, The University of Sydney

Corresponding Author:alexander.buzacott@sydney.edu.au

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Willem Vervoort
Sydney Institute of Agriculture, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Sydney Institute of Agriculture, School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Abstract

Storage and subsequent release of water is a key function of catchments that moderates the impact of meteorological and climate extremes. Despite the fact that many key hydrological processes depend upon storage, there are relatively few studies that focus on storage itself. Storage is difficult to quantify due to catchment heterogeneity and the paucity of data on key catchment characteristics that largely determine storage, such as soil, hydrogeology, and topography. We adopt a multi-method approach to estimate the dynamic and extended dynamic storages using hydrometric data in 69 catchments in the Murray-Darling Basin in south-eastern Australia. We test relationships between the derived catchment storages and hydrological and physical characteristics that potentially control storage. The study catchments tended to have small dynamic storages relative to the extended dynamic storage; proportionally the dynamic storages were all less than 10\% of the extended dynamic storage. While storage estimates produced by the different methods and study catchments varied, the order in which they ranked was consistent. Correlations between catchment characteristics and estimates of storage were inconsistent; however, the results indicated that greater storage is strongly associated with steeper catchments and smoother hydrographs. This study highlights limitations in the current methodology to derive storage and the quality of widely applied hydrometric data. We reinforce the need to collect data that can validate storage estimates and call for new approaches that can broadly estimate storage at the catchment scale.