Focussed R&D 2009-2010

Based on the flexible approach embodied in the E2 modelling framework, Source Catchments (previously WaterCAST) has been evolving and improving for almost a decade. Dr Phillip Jordan (SKM) and other senior developers have developed a suite of software testing mechanisms and ensured science is thoroughly peer reviewed and supported before inclusion. Real world feedback has also been instrumental in driving enhancements like sophisticated data preprocessors and analysis tools, new component models and modernisation of the user interface to promote scenario development and reporting. Such efforts ensure the product’s robustness and fitness for purpose.

Other product development achievements include:

  • a major overhaul and redesign of the Source Catchments User Documentation;
  • streamlining of quality control procedures to include regular system, usability and acceptance testing; and our testing process through the Application Projects (focus catchments);
  • working with eWI to implement a new Online Management System in Source Catchments for heightened security and delivery of upgrade releases;
  • development of a prototype of Source Catchments with new functionality to represent surface waterground water interactions and improved nutrient and sediment modelling. These prototypes are undergoing acceptance testing to ensure the software fully reflects the science;
  • completion of all model specifications for new functionality scheduled for release in v3 of Source Catchments.


The Catchments and Climate research team led by Dr Freeman Cook (CSIRO) is enhancing software development by providing the best possible scientific methodology for use in calculation of water quantity and quality. This foundation of quality and transparent science is resulting in improvements in the functionality of Source Catchments and providing a sound basis for development.

Testing of the scientific outputs produced is not only essential in providing quality and transparency but also ensures users can be confident of the veracity of the models provided.

During 2009-10 the Catchments and Climate research team has had several points of focus:

  • Implementing temporal downscaling of the sediment and nutrient transport algorithms from SedNet into a prototype version of Source Catchments to support QDERM investigation of sediment sources in the Great Barrier Reef project;
  • Collating a review of event mean concentrations (EMC) and dry weather concentrations (DWC) for all data into a software tool using Google maps;
  • Completion of work on the effect of vegetative cover on yield from a catchment by Luis Neumann, Lionel Siriwardena and Prof Andrew Western. This will be compared with an array of numerical analytical solutions developed by Freeman Cook;
  • Incorporating the solute transport model WASOM1 into the well used HYDRUS-1D model using extra funding from CSIRO’s Transformational Capacity Platform on Computational and Simulation sciences. This funding allowed Professor Jirka Simunek from the University of California, Riverside to visit and work with Dr Luis Neumann and Freeman Cook;
  • Developing procedures for estimating the pesticide loading into surface and groundwater based on the PIRI risk model. This work is expected to assist the improvement of Source Catchments for its partners into the future.

Application of Source Catchments

The Catchments and Climates team is working with partners at the local level applying Source Catchments to address management issues in focus catchments. Overseen by Dave Waters (Principal Hydrologist with QDERM), the work is ensuring product fitness for purpose and enhanced understanding of Source Catchment's capability in the operating environment. It also lets those in the water management world help eWater understand the range of real user needs and application issues.

The past 12 months has continued to be an active time for the eight Source Catchments focus catchment teams. All project teams have developed the capacity within their organisations to build and run Source Catchments models. The focus over the next 12 months will shift to our partners applying these models to assist them to address a range of challenging and often complex real world problems faced by their organisations.

Source Catchments development would not have occurred without the contribution made by the eWater partners over the past 12 months. This includes all aspects of the Source Catchments developmentincluding rigorous testing of new functionality such as a farm dams module and the stochastic climate tool, input into user requirements, evaluation of online training and review of scientific reference guides. The effort of these teams has ensured that Source Catchments and eWater are working towards meeting the needs of the water management industry for today and the future.

Over the next 12 months Source Catchments will be progressively adopted across the whole of the Great Barrier Reef by the Queensland Government (QDERM). This work, being guided by Chris Carroll, will see Source Catchments applied for reporting against reef targets. The agreement has seen five new Queensland modellers join the Applications project team.

In 2009-10 Source Catchments was applied in eight focus catchments:

  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Goulburn-Ovens
  • Yarra
  • Cattai
  • Nattai
  • Mount Lofty Ranges
  • South-East Queensland
  • Australian Capital Territory