It is with great pleasure PALM introduces Paulina Gutierrez Ramos.

Paluina in her second year of her PhD study looking at the Moorabool River Catchment. Based at the Deakin University, School of life and Environment, Center of Rural and Regional Futures Paulina's main focus is on catchment health and water forecasting.

Paulina has kindly provided the following bio and abstract:

Project Sponsor: Barwon Water and Corangamite Catchment Management Authority


I grew up in the city of Leon, in Mexico. I have always been interested in science, which led me to pursue studies in Biology and Environmental Science. During my bachelor studies, I was recipient of a scholarship in 2006 and had the amazing opportunity to come to Australia sponsored with an international scholarship, to attend Deakin University.

After finishing my undergraduate studies in Mexico, I migrated to Australia and continued studies in secondary school teaching. I worked as a high school teacher for 10 years. Due to my passion for science and sustainability, I completed a Master in Sustainability doing a project on sustainable regional development in both Mexico and Australia; I completed my research with recognition for academic excellence.

Currently, I am on the second year of my PhD project. My research focuses on catchment health and water forecasting. I hope my research will be useful for water managers, landowners and community organisations of the region and for catchment managers. At the end of my studies, I plan to pursue a career in the water management industry.


Title of PhD Project: Environmental flows in the Moorabool River

A significant proportion of the potable water used for human consumption comes from surface water, rivers and lakes. However, the modification of many waterways has had an impact on hydrological cycles and the functioning of freshwater ecosystems. Australian rivers have not escaped this fate.

In addition to direct, physical alterations, Climate change has an impact on the hydrological regime of many rivers. The uncertainty of different climates poses a challenge for natural resources managers, and preparing an adaptation plan requires consideration of different scenarios and application of water forecasting models.

Hydrological models help to explain the water balance of a catchment. Hydrologist use rainfall-runoff models to predict river flow and forecast the effects of land use changes, such as urbanization, land clearance and agricultural farm dams. The hydrological impacts of land-use change to streamflow, specifically alterations caused by interception of water via farm dams, is a topic of increasing scientific interest.

The influence of water trapping by farm dams on stream flows within the Moorabool Catchment, and many other catchments in Australia and overseas, is currently unknown. Given the potential cumulative impact of farm dams to trap significant volumes of water, thereby reducing runoff and subsequent river flow, my research aim is to quantify the distribution, morphological characteristics and number of farm dams in the Moorabool catchment. The morphological characteristics will include surface area and storage capacity. I will then model the correlation between farm dam water storage to stream run-off on an annual basis.


Paulina portrait