eWater CRC Releases Water Quality Analyser

Monday 26 September 2011

eWater CRC has released Water Quality Analyser (WQA) – an integrated software tool for monitoring and analysing in-stream water quality.

Water management authorities invest millions of dollars every year on monitoring and evaluating the quality of water in our freshwater systems. Human-induced changes to flow regimes within rivers and increases in nutrient and sediment loads to estuaries both threaten our water supplies.
 
Urban growth and climate change further impact the quality and quantity of water in many of these systems. While water management programs are constantly being revised to decrease these impacts, there is an urgent need for scientifically robust and technically sound software tools to help natural resource managers to make decisions in regards to water quality.

WQA is an integrated collection of data analysis and water quality assessment tools specifically designed to help. The tool allows a broad range of users to visualise, process and validate their water quality data; calculate locally relevant water quality guidelines, and estimate pollutant loads in streams. It highlights water trends and makes it easy for water managers to check and compare their outputs to common water quality guidelines like ANZECC.

A dashboard tool simplifies the process of storing and comparing time series charts. When a chart is loaded in the Water Quality Analyser, the current view of the chart can be sent to the dashboard by right clicking on the chart. When multiple charts are sent to the dashboard they are automatically organised to optimise the use of screen real-estate. Individual charts can be pulled into focus for detailed analysis and increased visual acuity while unfocused charts are displayed in an intuitive thumbnail view. Images in the dashboard can be copied and pasted into external documents.

Similarly, external charts and other images can be copied or opened into the dashboard making it a central point for visual data analysis. A saved dashboard is completely self-contained and is suitable for sending to other Water Quality Analyser users via e-mail. Saved dashboards also preserve the layout and appearance of each dashboard tile.

The Dashboard can also be used in any other situation when user wants to quickly compare images from different sources.

“The ability to examine water quality data in this way, with a straight–forward user interface, is a huge help to water quality managers,” says eWater Executive Manager Urban and Ecology Ralph Ogden.

How the Tool can Help

LOADS

Determining pollutant loads in local rivers and streams is a complex but fundamental task in the management and sustainability of our water bodies. Since processing samples can be hugely expensive, data for calculating pollutant loads tends to be sparse, forcing water managers to use load estimation techniques to calculate missing water quality samples. WQA brings nine of the most common methodologies for long-term loads calculation and four methods for calculating storm event loads together in a single interface.

“Potential applications for the loads tool includes the calculation of load-based guidelines, setting targets and comparing best management practices for the reduction of loads at the end of the valley or at river mouths,” Ogden says.


TRENDS

Water quality assessment relies on the ability of water managers to detect trends in declining water quality. The ability to detect these trends and ultimately identify the causal factors for the decline can help to establish the effectiveness of water management practices. The trend tool within WQA was designed to assist and improve water quality data analysis by water managers.

“The trend tool enables the user to validate data, consider detection limits, manage their time series, and also comes with powerful statistical capabilities to detect trends. It also enables the user to model trends in water quality, as well as supporting decision making to help explain the trends. WQA is a powerful software package to aid catchment groups and government agencies in managing our water ways,” Ogden says.

GUIDELINES AND EGUIDE TOOL

WQA allows the user to search the Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality 2000 (ANZECC and ARMCANZ 2000), and can calculate locally relevant guidelines values. It also enables calculation, storage and testing against locally relevant water quality guidelines in a consistent and transparent way and provides standard tools for regulatory agencies to adopt in water quality assessment.

Users can use the tool to interrogate water quality pollutants and trends and compare them against statutory guidelines, in an easy to use scientifically robust way. The flexible software tool allows input from different data sources, and provides the user with an array of data analysis and reporting approaches.

Key Features of WQA

With WQA you can:
•    Interrogate and Assess water quality data from a variety of sources
•    Compare Water quality data outputs with statutory guidelines
•    Analyse pollutant loads in streams
•    Detect Water quality trends in streams



Case study