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Part 2: Deliver water efficiently and equitably for domestic consumption, sustainable economic use and environmental benefit

Strategy 2.4
Improve environmental and consumptive use outcomes through development of improved water management and delivery tools

Implementation of this strategy involves creating a daily model of the Murray River, a real-time model of the upper Murray and better water accounting systems. The work involves extensive collaboration with research organisations such as the eWater Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and partnership with the National Water Commission.

Daily model of the Murray River

The daily model for the Murray River is being developed in collaboration with the eWater CRC. Commission staff are working closely with eWater CRC staff to ensure that the eWater River Manager project will meet the Commission’s requirements. Commission staff are also represented in the multijurisdictional groups that are responsible for monitoring project progress and functionality. These groups are:

  • a user reference group that will ensure critical milestones have been met before development is allowed to proceed on further milestones, and
  • a technical user group that will be responsible for developing and executing representative acceptance tests that will provide feedback to the user reference group and the eWater project team.

A real-time model of the upper Murray

The Commission continued to work with the state data providers over 2006–07 to automate the process of gathering the daily operations data. The migration from the current operations data system to the Hydstra system will be a staged process. The development work undertaken in 2006–07 is crucial, as the system will underpin the real-time rainfall run-off models.

Preliminary discussion was held in 2006–07 with eWater CRC, which is undertaking research for ‘enhanced forecasting of catchment stream flow’ to understand how their research developments may link to MDBC catchment models. The Commission’s Water Resources modelling group also developed a rainfall run-off model for the Kiewa catchment, to allow a detailed assessment of the operation requirements for real-time rainfall run-off models.

Improving water accounting systems

A longstanding water accounting system exists within the MDBC to inform the allocation of water from the Murray River to the southern Basin states. The National Water Initiative and The Living Murray Program have created new requirements for water accounting, including exposure to a broader audience that has limited or no knowledge of water accounting.

>The dredge Intervention, at work on the Murray Mouth. Photo: Ross Carter (SAW)

The dredge Intervention, at work on the Murray Mouth.

(Photo: Ross Carter (SAW))

The Water Accounting Development Committee (WADC) of the National Resources Management Ministerial Council aims to refine and coordinate water accounting. The WADC operates the National Water Accounting Development (WAD) project, which is funded from the Australian Government’s Raising National Water Standards Program. The MDBC Office hosts the project staff and is a major participant in water accounting development issues.

Completed in 2006–07, the first stage of a pilot conversion of MDBC water accounts into a financial accounting system tested the conceptual framework for water accounting and informed a prototype national chart of accounts. WAD staff also assessed an initial water market standard. Work in 2007–08 will include liaison and sharing with other WAD pilots, an assessment of initial water accounting standards, and creating a water accounting project in the eWater CRC program.