Water Information Research and Development Alliance
Improving the management of Australia’s water resources through the delivery of value-added water information products.
27 October 2010 | Updated 30 May 2013
Transforming the way Australia manages its water resources information
A decade-long drought followed by downpours and
floods: Australia is a continent of climate extremes.
The challenges that come with a highly variable
climate, together with increasing demand for water
and emerging pressure from climate change,
emphasise how important it is to manage our nation’s
water resources well.
In 2008 the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO joined
forces to develop innovative, next generation tools
and technologies to deliver national water information
In its first four years the Water
Information Research and Development Alliance
(WIRADA) has delivered significant achievements
in improving Australia’s water information systems,
water accounting, and water forecasting, with national
and global impacts.
Our vision is to improve the management of Australia's water resources by delivering world-class water information products based on a comprehensive, innovative and robust national water resources information system.
The Bureau of Meteorology is the lead agency for providing Australia’s flood forecasting and warning services.
To improve the Bureau’s water forecasting,
WIRADA researchers developed science and technology to better predict short-term river flow and floods, and seasonal inflows to river systems across Australia.
More accurate forecasts will help inform decisions by water managers, lead to economic benefits through more efficient irrigation allocations, help meet
environmental flow objectives, and improve information for recreational water users.
Water assessment and accounting
To sustainably manage and share our limited water
resources, it is essential that we accurately account for
how much water is available and how water is used.
As information and observations are collected by numerous
public and private organisations that manage water
across Australia, and these data are fed into the Bureau
of Meteorology’s new and improved information systems.
One use of this information is analysis and publication in
regular national water resource assessments and national
WIRADA researchers have developed cutting-edge
methods and technologies to help the Bureau provide
integrated surface water and groundwater resource
assessments, water accounts, and water resource outlooks.
Water information systems
In its new expanded role
of providing accessible
and comprehensive water
resources information, the
Bureau of Meteorology is
required to collate, manage
and publish a broad range of
Previously, more than 200
organisations across Australia
used a range of collection and
reporting methods for water
data, making it very difficult
to compare the data with any
focused on creating robust systems for water information
management, including developing a national standard for the
transfer of water information, and making sure the data could
be used to improve the management of our water resources.
Research is continuing to further improve the systems and tools already developed and to integrate them into Bureau operations.
Current research is focused on these key areas:
Collaboration in developing a new international water data transfer standard (WaterML2.0 Parts 1 and 2) is ensuring water data management in Australia is aligned with world’s best practice in water observations.
The new standards are assisting in the understanding and management of fresh water resources worldwide by enhancing data sharing and exchange.
Download the Water ML2.0 fact sheet [330 KB PDF]
Spatial Information Services Stack for the Bureau
The Spatial Information Services Stack for the Bureau of Meteorology project is helping the Bureau to share spatial data via interoperable standards and services.
This will allow the Bureau to publish data of national significance in accessible formats, helping to develop a community of practice where Australian industry, government and academic organisations can easily exchange water information.
Download the Sharing spatial research data fact sheet [200 KB PDF]
The Australian Hydrological Geospatial Fabric (Geofabric)
The Australian Hydrological Geospatial Fabric (Geofabric) is a highly specialised geographic information system that is a key information resource for the Bureau of Meteorology in producing its regular water resource assessments and national water accounts.
This project will bring the Geofabric into its third phase of development, automate some of its processes, and ensure its extended use by transferring management and maintenance knowledge to the Bureau.
Download the Geofabric fact sheet [1.8 MB PDF]
Tools and documentation and Describing and transforming ad hoc water data
Water information systems projects are developing methods and software to support interoperability between the water sector’s different information systems.
A model-driven approach gives the capacity for software applications to evolve easily as requirements for new data also evolve.
The Adhoc software is an example of such a system, providing a user‑friendly web-based application to enable data providers to more easily provide water data to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Download the Making metadata work fact sheet [280 KB PDF]
Data and models for water resource assessment
Australian water resources assessment projects have developed methods and technologies that will enable the Bureau of Meteorology to provide integrated surface and groundwater resource assessments, water accounts and water resource outlooks to Australian governments, business and people.
Download the Data and models for water resource assessment fact sheet [400 KB PDF]
Flood and short-term water forecasting and prediction
The Short-term Water Forecasting and Prediction project is developing methods and tools to improve the Bureau’s operational flood forecasting and generate continuous short‑term stream flow forecasts across Australia.
Download the Short-term water forecasting and prediction fact sheet [380 KB PDF]
Seasonal water forecasting and prediction
The Seasonal Water Forecasting and Prediction project is developing methods and tools for providing reliable forecasts of seasonal inflows to river and storage systems across Australia.
Download the Seasonal water forecasting and prediction fact sheet [280 KB PDF]
The Rainfall Prediction projects focus on improving the accuracy, usability and range of Australian rainfall forecasts.
Download the Hydro-meteorological research fact sheet [340 KB PDF]
The following projects have been completed, are now part of new projects, or are continuing outside of the Alliance:
Read more about WIRADA's Achievements.
More detailed information is available in WIRADA Annual Reports and research output documents.
Read the proceedings from the WIRADA Science Symposium held in August 2011.
The Alliance is guided by the Science Plan which outlines the scope of research, and the Implementation Strategy which provides a pointer to tactical investment priorities, maps out at a high level how the research may unfold, and identifies processes to facilitate the transition of research into the Bureau’s water information policies, systems, products and services.