A review of groundwater-surface water interactions in arid/semi-arid wetlands and the consequences of salinity for wetland ecology

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Abstract

In arid/semi-arid environments, where rainfall is seasonal, highly variable and significantly less than the evaporation rate, groundwater discharge can be a major component of the water and salt balance of a wetland, and hence a major determinant of wetland ecology. Under natural conditions, wetlands in arid/semi-arid zones occasionally experience periods of higher salinity as a consequence of the high evaporative conditions and the variability of inflows which provide dilution and flushing of the stored salt. However, due to the impacts of human population pressure and the associated changes in land use, surface water regulation, and water resource depletion, wetlands in arid/semi-arid environments are now often experiencing extended periods of high salinity. This article reviews the current knowledge of the role that groundwater-surface water (GW-SW) interactions play in the ecology of arid/semi-arid wetlands. The key findings of the review are as follows:

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