Murray River Mouth Morphological Modelling

BMT WBM has developed a comprehensive model for analysing the impacts on morphological processes of the Murray River mouth and associated water levels and salinity levels throughout Coorong and Lower Lakes resulting from variable river flows and release strategies at the barrages, incorporating ocean tide, storm surge, wave and wind processes.


Client: SA Government and MDCB

The South Australian Department for Water, Land & Biodiversity Conservation and the Murray-Darling Basin Commission are working together with BMT WBM to apply state-of-the-art models to assist in optimising river flow benefits for improved environmental management of the Coorong.

Advice has also been provided since 2002 on the dredging strategy which has been adopted to keep the mouth open in the absence of sufficient river flow.

Outcomes and Benefits

The model provides a reliable basis for quantified evaluation of various flow management options to keep the river mouth open with minimal inflow of beach system sand to the Coorong. The models also have much wider application to other environmental issues throughout the Lower Murray of significance to aquatic communities, migratory bird habitats, fisheries and water quality.

The model extends to the limits of tidal influence in the Coorong and upstream through the Lakes Alexandrina and Albert to Lock1, incorporating the barrages, and offshore to include wave and coastal processes. The model has been used to assess the potential impacts and benefits for a range of hydrodynamic, water quality and ecological processes, including bird habitat conditions within the Ramsar wetland areas. 

Services and Expertise Provided:

  • Advanced model development for coastal and estuary hydrodynamics and morphology;
  • Simulation of dominant processes affecting the mouth and Coorong including tides, waves, wind, storm tides, barrage flows and mouth morphology;
  • Advice on associated environmental processes and issues, particularly salinity responses in the Coorong; and
  • Project management and liaison with stakeholders.

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