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Canal estates (estuarine)

Subterranean GDE Subterranean GDE Groundwater and marine water interface Groundwater and marine water interface Subterranean GDE Sand Sand Sand Sand (saturated with groundwater) Sand (saturated with groundwater) Sand (saturated with groundwater) Infiltration and percolation Infiltration and percolation Infiltration and percolation Infiltration and percolation Direction of groundwater movement Direction of groundwater movement Direction of groundwater movement Direction of groundwater movement Direction of groundwater movement Direction of groundwater movement Direction of marine water movement Direction of marine water movement Low permeability rock GDE Surface expression GDEs GDE Surface expression GDEs Surface expression GDEs Corymbia spp. Corymbia spp. Corymbia spp. Corymbia spp. Corymbia spp. Corymbia spp. Corymbia spp. Corymbia spp. Corymbia spp. Melaleuca spp. Melaleuca spp. Melaleuca spp. Negligible groundwater movement Direction of marine water movement Basement of the model Sand (saturated with marine water) Sand (saturated with groundwater) Sand Coastal sand masses – beach ridges Low-lying coastal swamps
Sand (unsaturated) Sand (unsaturated) Sand (unsaturated) Sand (saturated with ground water) Sand (saturated with ground water) Subterranean GDE Sand (saturated with ground water) Sand (saturated with marine water) Direction of groundwater movement Direction of marine water movement Direction of marine water movement Direction of marine water movement Direction of marine water movement Direction of groundwater movement Direction of marine water movement Direction of marine water movement Direction of marine water movement Direction of marine water movement Direction of marine water movement Surface expression GDEs Surface expression GDEs Subterranean GDE Subterranean GDE Subterranean GDE Direction of marine water movement Sand (saturated with marine water) Sand (saturated with ground water) Sand (unsaturated) Direction of groundwater movement Direction of groundwater movement

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Estuarine canal estates are man-made canals that are connected to estuaries and therefore have tidal influence. The canals are usually dug into unconsolidated sedimentary aquifers including coastal sand masses (see coastal sand masses – beach ridges) or alluvia deposited during periods of higher sea level by fluvial processes in current river channels, floodplains, estuaries, deltas and other near-shore environments (see low-lying coastal swamps). These unconsolidated sedimentary aquifers store and transmit groundwater through inter-granular voids between gravel and sand particles.

At high tide marine water from canals infiltrates adjacent unconsolidated sedimentary aquifers. A thin lens of fresh groundwater is supported above the saline marine water which may then discharge back into the canal at low tide. These areas may support fauna and flora communities, ecological processes and delivery of ecosystem services.

  • Estuarine canals estates may depend on the surface expression of groundwater from the underlying unconsolidated sedimentary aquifers.
  • Unconsolidated sedimentary aquifers associated with estuarine canal estates may also support aquifer ecosystems which can be indicated by the presence of stygofauna.

Pictorial conceptual model PDF


Last updated: 18 December 2015

This page should be cited as:

Canal estates (estuarine), WetlandInfo 2015, Queensland Government, Queensland, viewed 13 April 2017, <https://wetlandinfo.ehp.qld.gov.au/wetlands/ecology/aquatic-ecosystems-natural/groundwater-dependent/canal-estates-estuarine/>.

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Heritage Protection