Focussed R&D 2009-2010

Under guidance from Project Manager Dr Matthew Bethune eWater has significantly enhanced its models to meet project partner needs. Model functionality, usability, and stability have all been improved thanks to rigorous testing throughout the jurisdictions.

The results can be seen in the second prototype version of Source Rivers, called the Trial Model. Ongoing testing of the Trial Model, being led by Dr Geoff Adams, will determine its application to larger valley models in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Highlights in the last 12 months include:

  • Release of the prototype version of the Trial Model of Source Rivers;
  • Release of user documentation, including a User Guide and Training Manuals;
  • Functional testing of the Trial Model to identify issues and future development requirements.


CSIRO under Geoff Podger is leading further development with major inputs from MDBA (led by Alistair Korn) and NSW Office of Water (led by Andrew Davidson). The Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (Vic DSE), the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (QDERM) and SA Department for Water are also providing input.

The focus is on delivering functionality, usability and stability to support water resource planning. The jurisdictions have prioritised outstanding development tasks and developed a schedule to track progress towards its release.

The release of the Trial Model was supported by up-to-date user documentation and training material, including online (F1) help, a Training Manual and User Guide. This forms part of a larger suite of user support material  being developed for Source Rivers.

Groundwater - Surface Water Interactions Tool (GSWIT)

Groundwater–surface water interactions are handled poorly in existing surface water hydrology models, yet prediction tools that simulate these complex interactions assist sustainable allocation of water. Research led by Dr Ian Jolly (CSIRO) with the support of the National Water Commission is allowing a more explicit representation of groundwater exchange fluxes. The new groundwater exchange module (GSWIT) for Source Rivers determines the exchange of water between a river and the underlying aquifer at any time step to explicitly account for groundwater exchange with a river. It can also specify the time lags associated with groundwater processes to river model forecasting capability. This will enable a more consistent, robust and transparent representation of groundwater exchange fluxes within the Source Rivers model.

Catchment Water Yield Estimation Tool (CWYET)

Dr Francis Chiew and Dr Jai Vaze (CSIRO) are leading a team developing components for modelling the rainfall runoff processes within a catchment for incorporation in Source Rivers (and Source Catchments). Known as the Catchment Water Yield Estimation Tool (CWYET), the components estimate daily catchment water yield and runoff to generate data on stream flow via an inflow node in Source Rivers. CWYET also predicts how influences like climate variation and land use change affect catchment water yield. It also considers how catchment changes like afforestation and new farm dams affect how much water reaches the river as runoff. In Source Rivers, this will provide information on:

  • variability in rainfall (spatial and temporal);
  • variability in potential evaporation (spatial and temporal)
  • the impact of plantations on evapotranspiration;
  •  the impact of groundwater processes on runoff, including extractions.

Environmental Demand Model

A prototype Environmental Demand Module has been added to Source Rivers to consider the needs of environmental assets as ‘water users’ in the system. This module allows the user to define environmental watering requirements and strategies for delivering water like extending minor flows, augmenting tributary inflows or allowing flow to pass through a reservoir (translucency). The Environmental Demand Module lets the user incorporate existing and planned environmental flow rules into river system models developed using Source Rivers. It allows users to model requirements for the timing and frequency of environmental flows and the priority of different environmental water requirements based on the water availability.