How to Cite

McLean, E., & Hinwood, J. (2020). SALINITY RESPONSE TO ENVIRONMENTAL FLOW RELEASE IN ESTUARIES. Coastal Engineering Proceedings, (36v), papers.60.


The Snowy River in southern Australia has been impacted by flow diversion since the construction of a dam in the upper catchment, constructed between 1955 and 1967. As part of a monitoring program the effects of two flow releases were studied in 2010 and 2011. The estuarine component of the monitoring and the estuarine modelling phase of the Snowy River Increased Flows Program has been presented. The impact on the estuarine salinity distribution for the selected flow releases is reported and a subsequent modelling exercise outlined. A simple numerical model has been used to simulate about 100 events in a mature barrier estuary, from which a sequence of response types has been identified. The occurrence of each response type has been related to the duration, inflow volume and peak flow rate of the inflow event and to relevant parameters of the estuary. It has been found that the salinity changes may be classified in terms of a dimensionless "estuary flushing parameter" E, which represents the ratio of the direct flushing by the river inflow to the tidal exchange.

Recorded Presentation from the vICCE (YouTube Link):


Cifuentes, L.A., Schemel, L.E. and Sharp, J.H., 1990. Qualitative and numerical analyses of the effects of river inflow variations on mixing diagrams in estuaries, Estuarine. Coastal and Shelf Science, 30, 411-427.

Hinwood, J.B and E.J. McLean. 1996. A parametric hydrodynamic model of a complex estuary. In Zannetti & Brebbia (Eds.), Development and Application of Computer Techniques to Environmental Studies VI, COMP. MECH. PUBL., Southampton, UK, pp 277-286.

Hinwood, J.B. & E.J. McLean, 1999. The Snowy River: a mature barrier estuary. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 111(2): 215‒228.

Loder,T.C. and Reichard, R.P., 1981. The dynamics of conservative mixing in estuaries. Estuaries, 4 (1), 64-69.

McLean, E.J. and J.B. Hinwood. 2001. Criteria for selecting environmental flows with application to the Snowy River., Proceedings International Symposium on Modelling and Simulation, MODSIM 2001 Congress, December 2001, Canberra, pp 887-892.

McLean, E.J. and J.B. Hinwood. 2015. Response of the Snowy River Estuary to two environmental flows. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria., vol. 125 pp 28-43.

Officer, C.B. and Lynch, D.R., 1981. Dynamics of mixing in estuaries, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 12, 525-533.

Oliveira, A., Baptista, A.M., 1997. Diagnostic modeling of residence times in estuaries. Water Resources Research, 33 (8): 1935-1946.

Pierson, W.L. Bishop, K., Van Senden, D., Horton, P.R. and C.A. Adamantidis. 2002. Environmental water requirements to maintain estuarine processes., Environmental Flows Initiative Technical Report No. 3. National Rivers Health Program, National Heritage Trust, Environment Australia.

Williams, S., Connolly, D. and Alice Williams. The recognition of cultural water requirements in the montane rivers of the Snowy Mountains, Australia., Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 26:3, 255-272, DOI: 10.1080/14486563.2019.1652211.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.