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Ten principles to determine environmental flow requirements for temporarily closed estuaries

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dc.contributor.author Adams, JB
dc.contributor.author Van Niekerk, Lara
dc.date.accessioned 2020-11-10T11:59:28Z
dc.date.available 2020-11-10T11:59:28Z
dc.date.issued 2020-07
dc.identifier.citation Adams, J.B. and Van Niekerk, L. 2020. Ten principles to determine environmental flow requirements for temporarily closed estuaries. Water, v12(7), 28 pp. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 1608-5914
dc.identifier.issn 1727-9364
dc.identifier.uri https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/12/7/1944
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10204/11674
dc.description © 2020 by the authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license en_US
dc.description.abstract Temporarily closed estuaries require seasonal opening to tidal flows to maintain normal ecological processes. Each estuary has specific environmental flow (EFlow) requirements based on the relationship between freshwater inflow, coastal dynamics, rate of sandbar formation, and the open/closed state of the mouth. Key abiotic processes and ecosystem services linked to mouth state were highlighted. We reviewed completed EFlow requirement studies for temporarily closed estuaries in South Africa and found that the formulation of these requirements should consider the timing and magnitude of flows in relation to the morphology of an estuary, its mouth structure, catchment size, and climate. We identified ten key principles that could be adapted to similar systems in equivalent climatic settings. Principle 1 recognizes that each estuary is unique in terms of its EFlow requirements because size, scale, and sensitivity of core elements to freshwater inflow are specific for each system; EFlows cannot be extrapolated from one estuary to another. Principle 2 highlights the importance of baseflows in keeping an estuary mouth open because a small reduction in flow can cause the mouth to close and alter essential ecological processes. Principle 3 outlines the role of floods in resetting natural processes by flushing out large volumes of sediment and establishing the equilibrium between erosion and sedimentation. Principle 4 emphasizes the need for open mouth conditions to allow regular tidal flushing that maintains water quality through reducing retention times and preventing the onset of eutrophic conditions. Principle 5 advises artificial breaching to be practiced with caution because execution at low water levels encourages sedimentation that reduces the scouring effect of flushing. Principle 6 holds that elevated inflow volumes from wastewater treatment works or agricultural return flows can increase the frequency of mouth opening and cause ecological instability. Principle 7 states that water released from dams to supply the environmental flow cannot mimic the natural flow regime. Principle 8 specifies the need for short- and long-term data to increase the confidence levels of EFlow assessments, with data to be collected during the open and closed mouth states. Principle 9 advocates the implementation of a monitoring program to track the achievement of EFlow objectives as part of a strategic adaptive management cycle. Finally, Principle 10 recommends the adoption of a holistic catchment-to-coast management approach underpinned by collaboration with regulatory authorities and stakeholders across a range of sectors. These principles can be used to guide the formulation and management of EFlows, an essential strategy that links the maintenance of estuarine ecological integrity with social well-being. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher MDPI AG en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Worklist;23816
dc.subject Bar en_US
dc.subject Berm en_US
dc.subject Ecosystem services en_US
dc.subject Coastal en_US
dc.subject Intermittently en_US
dc.subject Lakes en_US
dc.subject Lagoons en_US
dc.subject Microtidal en_US
dc.subject Semi-closed en_US
dc.subject Water quality en_US
dc.title Ten principles to determine environmental flow requirements for temporarily closed estuaries en_US
dc.type Article en_US


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