Home > About Estuaries > Definition


Content prepared by AT Forbes

In the southern African context the following is a generally accepted definition of an estuary. “It is a partially enclosed, coastal body of water which is either permanently or periodically open to the sea and within which, there is a measurable variation of salinity due to the mixture of sea water with fresh water derived from land drainage” (Day 1980). Such water bodies are therefore linked to a river, stream or other freshwater input at one and to the sea at the other. The absence of a recognizable source of freshwater, such as occurs in Langebaan Lagoon, would exclude any such systems from inclusion in this section although it displays many of the typical estuarine characteristics.

Sundays River