eWater Source

eWater Source — an Australian-wide collaboration effort backed by the Australian government — is built to meet the myriad climatic, geographic, water policy and governance settings across the country.

Australia's first national river basin scale water modelling system, it represents a substantial step forward in managing our water resources.

The Source modelling platform allows users to build on, rather than replace existing models. It has been developed to take a holistic approach to water management including human and ecological impacts. This includes integrating policy, addressing water savings and sharing for a whole river and connected groundwater systems including cities, agricultural and environmental demands. As such it will boost the capability of managers to use robust and defensible science to give advice to policy and decision makers.

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Source 2014

This year's Source conference will be held in Canberra in September.

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Software info

eWater Source diagram

What's new in Source?

Releases of Source in March 2013 (v3.3.0) and October 2013 (v3.5.0) introduced several key features, including real-time river operations, water resource assessments and crop demand modelling.

There have been big improvements in usability, specifically in memory performance, data handling, editing, and capability for custom modelling of complex water management rules.

Version 3.5.0 also has an expanded capacity to carry out multi-objective optimisations, and online documentation was introduced, which allows the documents to be changed dynamically in response to user feedback.

Using Source to manage catchments

eWater Source enables local knowledge, data and models to be combined with industry best practice to generate effective, transparent catchment management scenarios and options.

The software provides a framework for modelling the amounts of water and contaminants flowing though a catchment and into major rivers, wetlands, lakes, or estuaries. Source integrates an array of models, data and knowledge that can be used to simulate how climate and catchment variables (rainfall, evaporation, land use, vegetation) affect runoff, sediment and contaminants. The output can be used to offer clear scenarios and options for making improvements in a catchment.

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Using Source to manage rivers

eWater Source can be used in planning and operations modes for river management and has been developed to address water sharing and savings for entire river and connected groundwater systems. It offers important new features and capabilities dealing with water reform, climate change and environmental water.

Source provides a consistent modelling environment to support transparent river management decisions. Fundamental to this design is the flexibility which makes it readily customisable and easy to update as new science becomes available. New capabilities can be incorporated via plug-ins developed to suit particular needs.

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Using Source to manage urban water

Source can be used for urban water supply management at the town, city, and regional scale. It can assess a full range of supply and reuse options including desalination. This allows users to incorporate towns and cities into water management models for river systems.

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Access to Source

Preferential access to Source and the Source Modelling Community is offered through an annual organisational membership.

As well as providing unlimited Source licences for your staff and students, becoming a member of the Source Modelling Community offers access to the latest shared knowledge and expertise in integrated water resources modelling. 


Source Modelling Community


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Quality assurance

A best practice approach describes “a series of quality assurance principles and actions to ensure that model development, implementation and application are the best achievable, commensurate with the intended purpose.” (eWater 2010).

As a major provider of models to the water sector, eWater has a responsibility to provide modelling capacity that is created under a suite of best quality assurance practices and is robust, reliable and user-friendly. eWater also has a responsibility to ensure that model application is fully supported by clear principles, practices and guidelines for use that are underpinned by a quality assured documentation process.

The overall aim is to promote a consistent, best practice approach to modelling for water resource management across Australia. This will guide the continuing development of models that are fit for purpose, scientifically sound and quality assured.

Best practice model application

eWater will provide a comprehensive user support 'package' to promote a best practice approach to model application. The overall objective is to ensure modelling objectives are quality assured, and that model results are transparent, repeatable and defensible and can be effectively communicated to water managers, decision makers and the community.

This includes a family of Best Practice Modelling (BPM) Guidelines that can be applied to eWater tools as well as a range of modelling endeavours relevant to water management. At the highest level, and now in draft form, is generic best practice modelling guidelines that will provide a framework for a set of domain specific and model/product specific guidelines. Product specific guidelines for Source Catchments are now available, with others to follow.

The Source user support package includes:

  • Governance committees
  • Best Practice Modelling Guidelines
  • Rules of thumb to guide users through tricky situations
  • Documentation: user manuals, scientific reference guides, training manuals, training materials
  • Software for uncertainty and decision science analysis
  • Guidelines for model selection
  • Guidelines for model use
  • Tips and ideas in software/documentation
  • Uncertainty framework to assist in interpretation and communication of results with stakeholders
  • Training
  • User Groups and community of Practice

Best practice software development

Formal project management framework

eWater’s approach ensures software is developed according to a best practice framework, embracing stakeholder governance, formal capture of user requirements, technical specification and review, testing procedures, software quality assurance procedures and usability testing. This is all undertaken through an industry standard project management framework. Models are based on the best appropriate science for the intended purpose, and considering data and scale constraints.

A collaborative, partner-driven development process

The success of Source requires a close relationship with the end users and, as a result, our partners have key roles in overseeing the processes and outcomes of the projects. They contribute staff to model development and software testing, provide guidance and technical oversight, and trial and report on Source in their own catchments to provide feedback on performance, usability and functionality. Such a partner driven process ensures that the development is aligned with the needs of the users across Australia, will have a functional design, is fit-for-purpose and is being built according to well-established priorities.

A key part of this partner-driven process is expert reference groups who provide oversight to Source. The groups include:

A High Level Steering Committee (HLSC): comprised of representatives from our partner organisations who have a strategic oversight role. The responsibilities of the HLSC include monitoring the performance of the projects, providing advice and direction, reflecting the needs and expectations of stakeholder groups and providing governance gate review.

User Reference Groups: that provide product specific advice and user requirements, including feedback to the project teams on deliverables and goals. This helps ensure that development is focused on the needs of the user.

Technical User Groups: that provide advice on the specific technical requirements of the products, as well as feedback on infrastructure and architecture. Key roles include testing functionality throughout development; implementing user acceptance tests to ensure Source meets the needs of users; and providing feedback on the models.

Governance gates

Governance gates are the basis by which the HLSC, User Reference Groups and Stakeholders retain confidence in the delivery of the Source projects. Completion of each project phase (shown below) requires endorsement by the appropriate governing bodies (High Level Steering Committee, User Reference Group, Technical User Group) who review progress and make decisions on the future of the particular project.


Introduction to eWater Source

International Centre of Excellence in Water Resources Management eWater, in partnership with the International Centre of Excellence in Water Resources Management (ICEWaRM), presents Introduction to eWater Source.

This introductory course covers the major elements of Source at an elementary level with presentations and hands-on tutorial sessions.

For support and training enquiries contact us.

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Member enquiries

Members of the Source Modelling Community can direct enquiries to

E:  members@ewater.com.au

You may also visit the eWater Forum to view and contribute to discussions, questions and answers related to the use of Source.