Catchment hydrologic response to rainfall has changed since the start of the Millennium drought, and in many cases has not returned to the pre-drought state. In 2010–2016, following the end of the drought, the average annual rainfall was close to the pre-drought norm across our study catchments, yet streamflow deficits were still ~-21% on average. This was a direct consequence of drought-induced shift in catchment behaviour. A simultaneous assessment of a large range of factors representing climate, vegetation, soils, groundwater, and human impacts allows us to identify the factors related to streamflow anomalies during and since the drought. A complimentary analysis of low flow and cease-to-flow conditions demonstrates widespread changes in catchment storage and transition of many Victorian catchments towards a higher degree of flow intermittency.
Dr Margarita Saft is a Research Fellow in the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on shifts in rainfall-runoff response associated with long droughts, long-term changes in catchment functioning and its implications for hydrological modelling, and impact of subsurface processes on runoff generation. She received her PhD from the University of Melbourne in 2017, where she investigated the changes in hydrologic behaviour during multi-year droughts in South-Eastern Australia.