eWater has worked with some of Australia’s key river management agencies to develop the next generation of river system modelling tools, designed to support planning and operational aspects of river system management.
eWater is trialling the planning component of Source in the Macintyre Brook system in conjunction with the Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts (DSITIA), formerly the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM). The focus of this testing has been to apply the planning mode of Source to the modelling of a river system with a continuous sharing water resource assessment and allocation system. The aim is to improve water management, resource assessment and delivery in the Macintyre Brook system.
The Macintyre Brook catchment is located in the northern region of the Murray-Darling Basin; it is a sub-catchment of the Border Rivers region (which can be found along the border of Queensland and New South Wales). It lies in the Queensland segment of the Border Rivers region, approximately 90km east of Goondiwindi and 270km west of Brisbane.
Coolmunda Dam is the major source of water for the Macintyre Brook Water Supply Scheme (MBWSS) and is essential in suppling water for:
- Irrigation - lucerne, citrus, stone fruit, vines, olives and cereal irrigation;
- Urban Water Supplies - the town of Inglewood, bowls and golf clubs;
- Industrial - Stock intensive industries such as feedlots and chicken production companies.
The Border Rivers Resource Operations Plan (ROP) was finalised in 2008 and specifies the processes, rules and limits which determine how the Macintyre Brook system must be operated. The rules in the ROP determine the management, allocation and supply of water in Macintyre Brook; operators must correctly follow these agreed water use rules, ensuring a balance between riverine environmental needs and all other water use requirements.
The Macintyre Brook system is distinctive in that it uses a different approach to resource assessment and allocation when compared to most other water supply schemes in Queensland (and Australia as a whole). The alternative water allocation approach used in Macintyre Brook is known as continuous sharing and essentially allows individual users to be able to manage their ‘share’ of water independently of other users. Each water user is allocated a share of the system storage capacity (based on a number of factors) and a share of the inflows to the system; users can independently determine the quantity of water to use from their share without affecting, or being affected, by other water users.
Application and eWater’s input
In the Macintyre Brook system trial application project, eWater’s activities focussed on improving and testing the implementation of continuous sharing resource assessment functionality.
eWater and DSITIA are using Source to build a comprehensive Macintyre Brook river system simulation model which includes a thorough continuous sharing resource allocation system. The aim is to provide a clear interface where water managers and planners can easily and intuitively set up a continuous sharing system to assess the way in which a water supply scheme behaves under the determined rules.
With input from DSITIA hydrological staff, eWater is designing and customising the functionality of the Source planning component to best meet the specific requirements needed to set up and model a complex resource assessment and allocation system.
Extensive testing has been completed on the continuous sharing functionality in Source. Though there has been significant progress in developing this area of functionality, there is still further testing required. The aim is that Source will be able to model a continuous sharing resource allocation system in a way that current modelling platforms are not designed to. In turn, this will enable better efficiency and accuracy in water accounting and resource assessments.
eWater released a new version of the Source software platform in early 2013. In addition to improved performance speed, the latest version has introduced several key features, including real-time river operations, water resource assessments and crop demand modelling. It has also improved the stability, useability and memory performance of the software and makes data management easier.
Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts.
eWater has published Guidelines for modelling water sharing rules, as part of a suite of best practice modelling guidelines.