Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.pce.2014.09.007
Title (Primary) Analysis of water stable isotopes fingerprinting to inform conservation management: Lake Urema Wetland System, Mozambique
Author Steinbruch, F.; Weise, S.M.
Source Titel Physics and Chemistry of the Earth
Year 2014
Department CATHYD
Volume 72-75
Page From 13
Page To 23
Language englisch
Keywords Fingerprinting; Groundwater-surface water interaction; Lake wetland dynamics; Sedimentation; Stable water isotopes
UFZ wide themes RU2;

The present study focusses on the analysis of water stable isotopes to contribute to understanding the hydrology of the Lake Urema wetland system in central Mozambique towards conservation management.

Lake Urema Wetland is located in the Gorongosa National Park at the southernmost extent of the East African Rift System and is situated entirely within the Urema catchment. Of particular concern to the park’s management is the understanding of hydrological processes as these may trigger transformations of ecosystems, habitat losses and wildlife migrations. Concerns over the Lake Urema wetland’s drying up and the trapping of sediments in the floodplain have been raised for some time by conservationists.

Water samples were collected for stable water isotope analyses during the wet and the dry seasons for the period 2006–2010 from springs, boreholes, rivers, and Lake Urema. In addition monthly composite precipitation was collected at two rain gauges.

The results show that Lake Urema is maintained throughout the dry season merely from water generated during the wet season. It receives water from wet season precipitation and the runoff generated from this precipitation. The water source areas of the lake are the Gorongosa Mountain and the Barue Basement geomorphological units. Consequently, the source of the sediments which have been trapped into the lake and the floodplain has to be identified in these two catchment areas and urgent action is required to rescue the lake. This water body constitutes a groundwater buffer system which supports a unique wetland landscape. The annual inundations’ processes leading to the recharge-drainage cycle in the floodplain are most sensitive to the deposition of sediments, changing hydraulic gradients, and reducing wet season inflows and increasing drainage rates.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Steinbruch, F., Weise, S.M. (2014):
Analysis of water stable isotopes fingerprinting to inform conservation management: Lake Urema Wetland System, Mozambique
Phys. Chem. Earth 72-75 , 13 - 23 10.1016/j.pce.2014.09.007