Surface water pool expressions are ubiquitous across the Pilbara Region of Western Australia. These features and the systems supporting them commonly hold significant environmental value as a refuge for flora and fauna (including subterranean). Furthermore, from a cultural and heritage perspective they often hold special value as important meeting places for traditional owners, or places of significance referred to within Indigenous mythology.
Historically, research in the Pilbara Region relating to the nature and origin of surface water bodies has predominantly focused on large systems such as the Fortescue Marsh. Despite the prevalence of the much smaller water bodies, little is understood in relation to the flow dynamics that sustain them. The study sets out to characterise small surface water bodies in the Pilbara by applying a multifaceted understanding of the hydrological cycle.
Findings confirm the strong link between permanency and hydraulic connection to the fractured rock aquifer. Furthermore, understanding aquifer storage and the relationship between stream flow, and recharge dynamics associated with episodic rainfall events is essential to the ongoing management of these important features.