Australian WaterTools: new publication and water management tools highlighted at Stockholm World Water Week

Aerial view of beautiful winding Murray River among small islands of native vegetation in Riverland, South Australia (Credit: Greg Brave / AdobeStock)

The Australian Water Partnership has launched a new publication and supported partners to deliver a session at World Water Week (24–31 August, Stockholm) on ‘Australian Water Tools’ – a collaboration between eWater, Geoscience Australia and the Bureau of Meteorology.

The publication, WaterTools: A Guide to three national level platforms that support the management of Australia’s scarce water resources, showcases Australia’s use of Source, Open Data Cube and streamflow forecasting tools to support evidence-based water policy and management. The publication highlights potential opportunities to integrate the three tools for improved water management, from the catchment scale to individual water users.

In addition to providing technical detail on each of the tools, the session at World Water Week featured a case study that demonstrates how the tools have been used to produce water availability estimates from satellite data in Cambodia as part of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s (UN ESCAP) Regional Drought Mechanism pilot project.

Dr Robert Carr (CEO, eWater) demonstrates the Cambodian pilot project utilising Australian Water Tools

Dr Robert Carr (CEO, eWater) demonstrates the Cambodian pilot project utilising Australian Water Tools

Trudy Green (eWater), Fitsum Woldemeskel (BoM) and Erin Telfer (Geoscience Australia) present on the individual tools that make up the Australian Water Tools

Trudy Green (eWater), Fitsum Woldemeskel (BoM) and Erin Telfer (Geoscience Australia) present on the individual tools that make up the Australian Water Tools

Participants saw first-hand how the three tools were integrated and used space-based water observations combined with on-ground data for use in water forecasting and hydrological modelling to produce estimates of water availability in Cambodia. These were then used to produce new indicators for the Regional Drought Mechanism.

The Regional Drought Mechanism project also resulted in the development of a web and mobile dashboard that presents the information to water managers and users. Session participants provided feedback on this information and discussed application opportunities to support digital water justice.

Integrating Open Data Cube (ODC) technology, streamflow forecast and Source to support drought management in Cambodia (WaterTools, 2019).

Integrating Open Data Cube (ODC) technology, streamflow forecast and Source to support drought management in Cambodia (WaterTools, 2019).

Participants were interested in learning about Australia’s unique experience and approaches, the successes of our reforms and the ongoing challenges. Focusing on the tools behind the reforms provided a new perspective and a tangible way for others to leverage from Australia’s experience.

WaterTools: A Guide to three national level platforms that support the management of Australia’s scarce water resources (cover)

WaterTools also explores how available data from the tools should be applied within the broader context of water management policy, as described in WaterGuide – an organising framework for improved water management in response to water scarcity.

Over the last 30 years, Australia has implemented a wide range of water reforms to more sustainably manage its scarce water resources and address the environmental impact of over-allocated and highly developed river systems.

Through WaterTools, the Australian Government is sharing its experience, tools and approaches to assist other countries in building their capacity to address changing climates and increasing water scarcity. The integrated tools provide an opportunity to enhance the water information available to countries with limited on-ground gauging networks.

For more information and to download WaterTools, visit AWP’s offering on water tools.

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