Spatial data informs Murray-Darling basin plan

By on 12 October, 2010

Spatial information was a key part in the development of the Murray-Darling Basin plan, the first stage of which was released late llast week.

The plan aims to restore flows to rivers in the Murray-Darling Basin by setting limits on water use across the basin.

The Murray-Darling Basin covers more than 1 million square kilometres, or 14 per cent of Australia's land mass, stretching over parts of South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

The Murray-Darling Basin Plan splits the basin into 19 areas and uses existing water resource planning and management models from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory to model flows.

This includes models of each major river system and groundwater system within their jurisdiction.

The CSIRO Murray–Darling Basin Sustainable Yields Project linked 24 of these models to represent Basin-wide hydrology and water sharing arrangements.

In addition, the authority has compiled ‘without-development’ models that were used to understand how the basin river systems may have operated without human interference such as dams, water sharing rules and diversions from the reference baseline models.

Extensive use has also been made of 11 groundwater models developed.

The individual river system models provided by the states, and in the case of the Murray and Lower Darling, by the authority, have been calibrated by the state agencies and, in most cases, detailed calibration reports have been produced.

The quality assurance around these models has been further enhanced through the independent audit and review process set up for compliance with the cap on diversions.

The modelling systems’ design and methods have been documented and subjected to two independent scientific reviews.

In addition, the methods used to develop climate change scenarios for the basin plan have also been independently peer-reviewed and published in scientific journals.


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