Reduced stream flow
In this context, stream flow refers to the discharge of water that occurs in a waterway, where discharge is the volume of water that passes through a given section of the waterway within a specified time. Stream flow can be altered by rainfall capture and retention, structures such as dams and weirs, diversion of water for uses such as irrigation, amounts of rainfall and snow melt, entry of groundwater, release of water from dams and industrial plants, evaporation, leakiness of stream beds and banks, floodplain harvesting, etc. Stream flow combined with the size of the water body influences water quality by affecting:
- contaminant dilution rates
- water mixing and subsequently thermoclines
- water availability for the natural processes that support the animal and plant life of the waterway.
A thermocline is a layer of water that is warmer or cooler than the layers of water above or below it.
Suggested indicator: Farm water flow+
Reduced stream flow may be associated with:
|Potential associated impacts||Suggested indicators+|
|Reduced water quality||
Changed in-stream habitat, leading to changed fauna presence and health
|Reduced water availability for riparian vegetation|
|Reduced water availability for terrestrial fauna||
|Reduced floodplains and wetlands that can significantly influence the breeding cycle of many organisms||
+ Descriptions of indicators (PDF, 76K)* provides a brief description of each indicator including techniques and purpose.
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Last updated 7 September 2010