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Infrastructure at the Ti Tree site focusses on recharge processes in arid climates, and the interaction between groundwater and vegetation.
A total of 106 new piezometers have been installed within the Ti Tree basin. Most of these have been equipped with pressure transducers and data loggers to record water level fluctuations at fine temporal resolution. A number of electrical conductivity sensors have also been installed. Six water level indicators have been installed in the bed of the ephemeral Woodforde River, to record flow heights and durations during flow events. Two automatic camera systems have been installed to capture flow events. To monitor vegetation dynamics and water infiltration, we have also installed two eddy covariance systems, 8 automatic rain gauges, and 49 soil moisture sensors.
Studies of the water resources within the Ti Tree Basin involve strong collaboration with the NT Government. The new infrastructure is being used by NCGRT PhD student Cameron Wood in his study on groundwater flow and recharge processes, and the importance of the ephemeral rivers as a recharge source. NCGRT Postdoc Dr Margaret Shanafield and Research Associate Ms Stephanie Villeneuve are also using the new piezometer networks to study evaporation processes and salt lake systems, and infiltration processes from ephemeral rivers. The climate stations and eddy covariance systems are being used by Dr James Cleverley (UTS) and Dr Nicolas Boulain (UTS) for studies of vegetation water use and carbon dynamics. Research scientists at ANSTO are collaborating with FUSA students on a project to measure carbon isotopes to determine groundwater residence times within the basin.
NRETAs will be using results from the project to further develop their groundwater model of the Ti Tree Basin. The groundwater model is being used for the Water Allocation Plan. (Groundwater in the Ti Tree Basin is used for irrigation of horticultural crops, and town and community water supplies).