For planners, agriculturalists and water authorities the management of these dams raises key questions including how much water such dams intercept and when; and what is the reliability of irrigation water supplied from the dams to agricultural land. The questions become particularly vital when it comes to assessing how proposed new dams will affect reliability of supply to other water users downstream.
This issue is a hot topic in WA, where the Department of Water (DoW) has identified the need for tools capable of simulating the impact of farm dams on rivers and the reliability of the water they supply. Such tools need to provide analysis of both current levels of development and possible future scenarios.
A decision support tool is required which can go beyond simply quantifying diversions to represent the reliability of water supply. Results are needed at a range of scales, including the scale of the individual user.
To address the need, Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) and DoW, with the support of the National Water Commission (NWC), are developing new functionality for eWater’s integrated river basin-scale modelling system, Source. The functionality is designed to assist the Western Australian government in farm dam management, with the potential to help stakeholders understand the hydrology and reliability of farm dams.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Walpole, Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM)
Read the full article by Kiernan Fowler, SKM.