Salt Plug Formation Caused by Decreased River Discharge in a Multi-channel Estuary

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Shaha, Dinesh Chandra ; Cho, Yang-Ki (2016)
  • Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
  • Journal: Scientific Reports, volume 6 (issn: 2045-2322, eissn: 2045-2322)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1038/srep27176, pmc: PMC4891659
  • Subject: Article

Freshwater input to estuaries may be greatly altered by the river barrages required to meet human needs for drinking water and irrigation and prevent salt water intrusion. Prior studies have examined the salt plugs associated with evaporation and salt outwelling from tidal salt flats in single-channel estuaries. In this work, we discovered a new type of salt plug formation in the multi-channel Pasur River Estuary (PRE) caused by decreasing river discharges resulting from an upstream barrage. The formation of a salt plug in response to changes in river discharge was investigated using a conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) recorder during spring and neap tides in the dry and wet seasons in 2014. An exportation of saline water from the Shibsa River Estuary (SRE) to the PRE through the Chunkhuri Channel occurred during the dry season, and a salt plug was created and persisted from December to June near Chalna in the PRE. A discharge-induced, relatively high water level in the PRE during the wet season exerted hydrostatic pressure towards the SRE from the PRE and thereby prevented the intrusion of salt water from the SRE to the PRE.
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