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Environmental FlowsSaving Rivers in the Third Millennium$
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Angela H. Arthington

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520273696

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520273696.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

Groundwater-Dependent Ecosystems and Threats

Groundwater-Dependent Ecosystems and Threats

(p.213) 15 Groundwater-Dependent Ecosystems and Threats
Environmental Flows

Angela H. Arthington

University of California Press

Wetlands, rivers, riparian zones, alluvial floodplains, and estuaries have various dependencies on groundwater, and on water derived from the unsaturated zone and surface runoff from land. Humans have accessed groundwater for domestic and agricultural use for over eight thousand years, and at least one third of the world's population draws its water from aquifers. In extreme cases, declines in the groundwater table completely sever the river baseflow system from its underlying aquifer. Extended low flow periods or changes in the timing of dry periods because of groundwater extraction can disrupt ecosystems processes and food-web structure in fragmented habitats, potentially leading to localised species extinctions. Salmonids appear to be particularly sensitive to the groundwater dependencies of their spawning habitats.

Keywords:   groundwater-dependent ecosystems, aquifers, river base-flow, groundwater extraction, fragmented habitats, species extinctions

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