Trajectory Analysis of Inland Water Discharges into the Santos Estuarine System

ABSTRACT In order to optimize action strategies for environmental management plans and environmental projects in coastal areas, the investigation of processes related to an estuarine system contributes to a better inference of the complex dynamics of constituents present in its water. This paper reports a hydrodynamic study of the Santos Estuarine System (São Paulo State, Brazil) focused on aspects related to the transport of constituents from inland water discharges. A computational model was implemented using SisBaHiA (Base System for Environmental Hydrodynamics) in order to reproduce the hydrodynamic patterns of the system. Based on the Lagrangian Transport Model the most significant tributary river discharges were represented: Boturoca River, Cubatão River, Quilombo River and Itapanhaú River. Results were probabilistically analyzed based on the lifetime of tributary discharges flowing into the estuarine system and their position during the simulation period. Such simulation results were presented on contour maps of occurrence percentage separated by lifetime limits, supporting a trajectory analysis of the inland water discharges. Map results indicated that water from Cubatão River reaches the Santos Bay preferably through the mouth of the São Vicente Estuary and water from Quilombo River preferably flows through the Port of Santos Channel instead. Water from Cubatão River remained in a mangrove area during most of the simulation period. Considering 3 days of lifetime limit only 1% reached the main channels.