Queensland Water Modelling Network publications

Improvements to stream bank modelling (PDF, 19.5MB)

In 2021, the Queensland Water Modelling Network engaged Alluvium Consulting Australia Pty Ltd (Alluvium) to investigate and assess options and opportunities for stream bank erosion modelling within the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) catchments. An initial investigation assessed a range of stream bank erosion modelling approaches and their applicability to GBR streams. A key finding of this study was the difficulty in accurately predicting stream bank erosion in all river typologies that exist within the GBR catchments. This study aimed to consolidate the previous QWMN projects undertaken by Alluvium to help the Paddock to Reef team improve the linkages between their models and actual river form and processes. The main outputs of this project are a decision support framework, and case study assessments to help inform Paddock to Reef streambank models.

Strategic foresight for water and natural resource management in Queensland (PDF, 4.0MB)

The Queensland Foresight Project was initiated in July 2021 and delivered via a series of interactive workshops to support the joint development of multiple plausible futures for Queensland’s water resources and related ecosystems and identify opportunities and intervention to move towards desirable future states. The project focused on two case study areas, the Mary River Catchment and South East Queensland catchments. Workshop participants developed four scenarios: Agricultural Transformation, Sustainability Transition, Decentralisation and Vested Interest, reflecting different societal, environmental, political, economic and technological changes, as well as different levels of influence of such drivers on the governance of water in the future. The scenarios were intended to facilitate open conversations about how water management might look like in 2050. This project highlighted the criticality of collaboration and nexus thinking in water planning and management into an uncertain future.

QWMN Mid-Term Evaluation Report (PDF, 1.6MB)

The QWMN has commissioned annual monitoring and evaluation reports since 2021, building upon an initial General Assessment undertaken by Alluvium. These reports help the QWMN make best use of available resources, and progress towards desired outcomes and associated benefits.

The 2022 mid-term evaluation, undertaken by Aither, found QWMN was achieving its short-term outcomes by effectively addressing clear and ongoing Queensland Government needs. It also found the Network was well placed to achieve its long-term outcomes and vision, although there was a gap between the short term and long term dimensions. The report identified several opportunities to improve program delivery and impact, particularly focused on increasing the QWMN’s programmatic approach and more explicitly linking the program’s activities, including the annual strategic tender, to the QWMN’s medium term goals. A supporting complementary Executive Summary (PDF, 560.1KB) provides the high level findings and recommendations.

Review of Protocols for Engagement with First Nations Peoples: A literature review of engagement guidelines and frameworks in water management (PDF, 533.0KB)

In early 2022, the Queensland Water Modelling Network commissioned a literature review of relevant protocols of engagement with First Nations Peoples, set within the context of water and land management. This document is intended to serve as an initial reference document for those seeking to understand the formal instruments underpinning engagement processes. The review was carried out by Jayana, as part of the industry placement requirements in the Bachelor of Environmental Management at The University of Queensland.

Regional pilot application of MERGE gully erosion model (PDF, 883.1KB)

The MERGE (Modelling Erosion Resistance for Gully Erosion) model was developed in response to the identified need for a process-based model of gully erosion to inform gully rehabilitation and management. MERGE was developed by the Queensland Water Modelling Network (QWMN) Senior Research Fellow, based in the Australian Rivers Institute (ARI), Griffith University, in collaboration with Queensland Government, researchers, scientists and end users in the QWMN, and academic partners. This report documents a pilot application of the MERGE model in a site on the Fitzroy River, Rockhampton. The project was undertaken in collaboration with the Fitzroy Basin Association with the selected site a candidate for on-ground actions to reduce erosion and prevent further expansion. Eight different management combinations under wet and dry season conditions were explored to investigate potential benefits of different interventions. A combination of rock capping and catchment works were found to substantially reduce erosion compared to roughening of the upper unvegetated reaches of the gully channel. Further work is needed to evaluate these results in comparison with other erosion management approaches to inform decision making.

Review of the science used in the MEDLI model

The Queensland Water Modelling Network commissioned a review of the science under pinning MEDLI (Model for Effluent Disposal using Land Irrigation) to ensure it reflected recent research and supports best practice. The four expert reviews examine different elements of MEDLI in detail, with the synthesis report providing recommendations for future MEDLI updates. The individual reports are now available: Hydrology models and processes (PDF, 2.2MB) , Modelling of water and solute transport in MEDLI (PDF, 2.5MB) (supporting worksheet available on request), Pond chemistry module (PDF, 1.7MB) , and Simulating soil nutrient pools and processes for carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus (PDF, 2.4MB) . The synthesis report (PDF, 5.1MB) will help guide updates of MEDLI.

QWMN Research Development and Innovation Strategy 2021–2024 (PDF, 3.6MB)

Following extensive consultation across the sector, the Queensland Water Modelling Network Research, Development and Innovation Strategy 2021–24 (the Strategy) has been updated. The priority regions and RDI topics identified for effort and investment over the period broadly align with those of the original strategy, helping to maintain and build momentum. The Strategy will help inform the design of the annual strategic RDI tender call.

QWMN 2021 Evaluation Report (PDF, 1.7MB)

In 2021, the QWMN commissioned Aither to develop its first Evaluation Report building upon the General Assessment undertaken by Alluvium. The annual Evaluation Reports will help ensure that the QWMN makes best use of its limited resources, and achieves its desired outcomes and associated benefits.

Aither’s evaluation found QWMN was achieving short-term outcomes by effectively addressing clear and ongoing Queensland Government needs and that QWMN was also well-placed to achieve its long-term outcomes and vision. The report identified several opportunities to improve program delivery and impact.

Between a hot place and hypoxia: Modelling fish-kill risk in Queensland waterholes (PDF, 12.8MB)

This project sought to develop new modelling capability to model waterhole hypoxia and fish habitat condition in six waterholes within Queensland, identify risks to fish occupying waterhole refuges and to support appropriate management responses.

The model and assessment approach developed and presented in this report is a first step towards building a reliable tool that managers can use for assessment of waterhole hypoxia and fish-kill risks. The report also provides recommendations for how future applications of the model can help to inform future water management decisions and climate adaptation strategies.

QWMN 2021 Wetland Hydrology Model Review (PDF, 8.3MB)

This project provided a critical analysis of hydrology models relevant to wetland environments with particular focus on the role of nitrogen and associated processes. The suitability of different models that simulate the ability of wetlands to mitigate pollution, particularly nitrogen, in downstream receiving waters was evaluated. Reliable and defensible models may be used to document and demonstrate environmental licence and water quality offset requirements. The document presents strengths and weaknesses in the treatment of the nitrogen process by existing models as they pertain to scale, process, landscape form, cost, availability, etc. and identifies any significant/critical gaps.

Queensland Water Modelling Network Strategic Review of Models Suite

The QWMN’s 2018–2020 Research, Development and Innovation Strategy identified the need to conduct a strategic review of water models to help guide investment and effort in water modelling over the next five years (2020–2025). The Strategy further noted that investment in water modelling would benefit from an objective, transparent and adaptive process for evaluating water models and identifying key challenges, opportunities and risks for future model development and application. QWMN engaged BMT, The  University of Queensland and The University of Western Australia to carry out the strategic review including the development of an approach to classify models and a framework for assessment.

Discussion paper: The different experiences of groundwater modellers and end users (PDF, 714.7KB)

Randall Cox prepared this discussion paper for the QWMN with a view to increasing the use of groundwater models in informing policy, program, and regulatory domains. It does this by prompting discussion about the interaction between groundwater modellers and the end users of the models. This paper could also be used to stimulate discussion in other modelling contexts as the issues raised extend beyond groundwater modelling.

Alluvium review of existing bank erosion models and options report (PDF, 1.4MB)

Alluvium Consulting Australia Pty Ltd investigated and assessed options and opportunities for stream bank erosion modelling within the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) catchments. This study investigated a range of stream bank erosion modelling approaches and assessed their applicability to GBR catchment streams.

This report assessed four different stream bank erosion prediction approaches:

  • The Dynamic SedNet stream bank erosion model
  • Bank Assessment of Non-point Source Consequence of Sediment approach (BANCS)
  • The Bank Stability and Toe Erosion Model (BSTEM)
  • Stream type based approach and multi-temporal analysis

For each model an overview is provided, along with examples of application, limitations and research opportunities within the context of stream bank erosion prediction in the GBR catchments.

Review of river reach case studies and Dynamic SedNet model parameterisation (PDF, 16.4MB)

A key finding of the Alluvium Review of existing stream bank erosion models and options report highlighted the difficulty in accurately predicting stream bank erosion in all river typologies that exist within Great Barrier Reef catchments. In response, a follow-on project by Alluvium explored the accuracy and parameterisation of the Dynamic SedNet model currently used within the Paddock to Reef program in a range of different river types.

Addressing uncertainty in catchment models using machine learning techniques (PDF, 7.2MB)

BMT Commercial Australia, in collaboration with The University of Western Australia and Healthy Land and Water investigated data driven models and ensemble machine learning techniques to improve predictions of water quality model outputs. This report summarises the project findings in context of a south-eastern Queensland catchment.

Making our water models climate change ready: Are they up to the task? (PDF, 3.1MB)

Following the completion of the critical review of climate change and water modelling in Queensland project, delivered in partnership with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and University of Newcastle, Alluvium Consulting Australia has developed a stand-alone evaluation criteria and a scoring system to help assess the readiness of water models to account for or incorporate climate change in their use.

This independent resource, suitable for use by practitioners in reviewing a model’s treatment of climate and to support decision makers, is now available for application.

Prediction of cover-dependent runoff amount and peak runoff rate for grazing land in Queensland Final Report (PDF, 2.2MB)

This project provides data improvements and estimation techniques that might allow hillslope erosion predictions of the Paddock to Reef catchment modelling for Reef Plan (for grazing lands) to be more sensitive to cover and management improvements. Delivered by Griffith University, this project includes data products for predictions of runoff depth and the peak runoff rate, at time and spatial scales for improved P2R Catchment modelling for Reef Plan.

HowLeaky Model V5 Technical Documentation (PDF, 4.0MB)

HowLeaky is a software model that has been designed to assess the impacts of different land uses, soil conditions, management practices and climate-types on water balance and water quality. This document aims to provide HowLeaky users and developers with a detailed scientific description of the simulation model contained within the HowLeaky software (Version 5.49). This includes documentation of the scientific model equations, algorithms and descriptions of the input and output parameters. Sample input parameter values for different submodels are provided in the appendices.

This document does not aim to provide any information about the running of the software nor the features of its user-interface.

Critical review of climate change and water modelling in Queensland (PDF, 5.7MB)

This project assessed Queensland’s current ability to incorporate climate variability and climate change projections in water models. Bringing together an experienced team of hydrologists, hydroclimate scientists, water quality scientists and practitioners, Alluvium Consulting Australia delivered the project in partnership with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and University of Newcastle. Using the best available science, the project provided a clear pathway to consistent, robust modelling approaches for assessing climate change in Queensland water models.

The QWMN is coordinating an integrated response to the final report and investment portfolio recommendations. To get involved, contact QWMN@des.qld.gov.au.

Improving how gully erosion and river sediment transport processes are represented in Queensland catchment models (PDF, 2.1MB)

This report reviews the current understanding of gully erosion and river sediment transport processes in Queensland catchments, and details how these processes have been represented in water quality models over the last 20 years. Developed through a consensus approach, the report identifies the research, data collection and conceptual design needs to improve these modelling practices, to make them more relevant to the growing needs of land management agencies and communities.

Queensland Water Modelling Network Water Model Catalogue (PDF, 2.3MB)

This catalogue provides a concise overview and collation of the major water models currently used by the Queensland Government. It is a resource for researchers and students to better understand the scope and range of models being applied by Queensland Government agencies and utilise these tools and applications for teaching and collaborative research projects.

Queensland Water Modelling Network Good Modelling Practice Principles (PDF, 1.5MB)

This paper synthesises existing knowledge and experience on good water modelling practices and principles. It provides guidance for new and existing water model development efforts and informs end users and decision makers about what distinguishes good modelling practices from poor ones.

Queensland Water Modelling Network Technical Forum Summary: November 2017 (PDF, 7.8MB)

This document summarises the presentations given and issues discussed at the Forum attended by representatives from government agencies, public research bodies, universities, statutory authorities, not-for-profit organisations and the private sector.

P2R Program Integration of Paddock Scale Modelling and Source Final Report: November 2018 (PDF, 15.5MB)

Modelling of pollutant loads entering the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is undertaken as part of the Paddock to Reef Integrated Monitoring, Modelling and Reporting Program (P2R). This project has investigated methods for integrating paddock and catchment scale modelling to improve representation of daily constituent concentrations going into the reef.

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