2012 – Sediment Monitoring in Lake Argyle confirms success of Ord catchment management

Robert Wark, R.N.M. Nixon

Sediment inflows to Lake Argyle, the reservoir formed by the construction of the Ord River Dam, were seen as a significant threat to the Ord Irrigation Project when the scheme was being developed through the 1960s.  Sediment monitoring was built into the operation of Lake Argyle when the Ord River Dam was completed in 1971.  The paper describes the strategies that have been in place to assess sediment loads and monitor sediment build up in the reservoir.

Spectacular reduction in sediment flows has been achieved through developing a comprehensive catchment management program.  The program commenced in the early 1960s and was adapted and modified as progress was made.  The paper describes the steps taken to identify the areas of the catchment at risk, the measures implemented and the current status of the catchment.

A key feature of the catchment management program has been the willingness to critically review progress and adapt the program.  A variety of sediment tracing techniques have been used to help confirm the sources of sediment in the catchment, and the paper describes these, and the broad range of results and how they have helped direct the work on catchment management.

Keywords: Sediment, monitoring, catchment management, Lake Argyle, Ord River


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