Australia’s ability to deal with increasing water scarcity will be underpinned by accurate and reliable water resources information.
This requires improved coverage, accuracy and currency for Australia’s water resources information systems. Better water information also helps to provide technological solutions to deliver water savings, and better assessments of the impact of water use at an individual product level, in the form of water footprints.
Water information systems currently used in Australia are typically small scale, custom built solutions designed to meet the needs of the more than 240 regional-scale agencies or water authorities around the country. These systems are unable to manage the volume and complexity of data needed for comprehensive national water accounting, assessment and forecasting.
Modern national water information infrastructure is seen as essential for Australia’s water reforms. Building a new generation of water information infrastructure will help provide timely and accurate national water accounts cheaper, providing automated and efficient ways of routinely monitoring, analyse and report on Australia’s water resources.
Through the Water Act 2007, the Australian Government has given the Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau) responsibility for compiling and delivering comprehensive water information across the water sector in Australia.
CSIRO is collaborating with the Bureau through a water information research and development alliance to provide the core research required to transform the way Australia manages its water resources by delivering value added water information tools and technology based on a comprehensive and robust nationwide water information system.
Water markets, water utilities, water users and environmental water managers can all benefit from an ability to accurately predict both current and future water availability. This has huge financial and efficiency benefits for Australia in terms of efficient crop planting, minimising cropfailure and ensuring optimal water allocations.