Beta release of Source for managing rivers

Tuesday 30 November 2010

November 2010 - The beta version of Source has been released by eWater CRC. Now being tested by partnering jurisdictions, eWater Source is designed to assist water-managers balance escalating needs for water by food producers, urban populations, and the environment.

When fully developed, it is expected to play a key role in furthering the implementation of Australia’s blueprint for water reform, the National Water Initiative (NWI). Reflecting the urgency of the need for this important product, the National Water Commission and the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities have invested substantially in the ‘accelerated’ delivery of the Source modelling platform.

Acting CEO of the National Water Commission, James Cameron, said, “The Source model will further water reform under the National Water Initiative. Water planning is at the heart of water reform in Australia and all Australian jurisdictions have been involved in, and are supportive of, getting this model right. Consequently, we have genuine progress in developing a consistent national modelling platform that will be able to be implemented across the jurisdictions.The Commission believes that the beta version release provides a robust framework for the delivery of the final model at the end of 2011.”

Built on a modern software platform by professional software developers, Source is highly flexible and readily customisable to any river system across Australia. Product development has been informed by strong input from real world users to ensure fit-for-purpose functionality and  is based on technical design from a team of leading hydrologists based at CSIRO and several Australian Water Resource Management agencies. The result is a modern software platform created by professional software developers.

“We are very pleased to be passing this key milestone in the development of the world’s first integrated river modelling system, built using the best available science,” said eWater CRC CEO Professor Gary Jones. “Trialling in real world scenarios is highly valuable, with the excellent feedback we are receiving on all aspects of model capability taking us a long way towards our goal of delivering rigorous, quality assured and 'fit-for-purpose models to our partners and ultimately the wider industry."

Source offers a range of enhancements over existing models, including the ability to track multiple parcels of water as they are stored and move through a river system and allowing swaps between spatial, schematic and temporal views. It also integrates river system modelling with catchment models and allows consideration of surface and groundwater interactions. Source incorporates the NWC funded Groundwater Surface Water Interaction Tool (GSWIT) and the Catchment Water Yield Estimation Tool (CWYET). In addition it supports both rules based and optimised solutions to manage the delivery of water from multiple supply storages via multiple paths.

Source allows users to simulate how physical processes, management rules and operating decisions impact their river system. It can be applied to any land use and climate scenario, and used to predict changes in pollutant inputs to coastal waters.

Source is designed to provide a consistent modelling tool to support river management decisions across Australia for the next 15-20 years. A common modelling platform across Australia will help to promote consistency and communication in river system management and help optimise the use of river water for all users, including the environment.

Source development has been accelerated with $8.6 million funding in Australian Government support from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, and the National Water Commission. Source  development has been underpinned by over $30 million core funding from the Commonwealth’s Department of Innovation, Science and Research via its CRC program to eWater CRC since 2005. This support includes substantial funding and in-kind support from the eWater CRC partners.