Piecing together water puzzle proves complex task
18 July 2011
Fresh water runs in streams and rivers around Australia and seeps into underground aquifers. It is held in storage and is released for irrigation, drinking and environmental purposes. Along the way its quality may be transformed, gaining or shedding salts, sediments, nutrients and pollutants. Tracking the movement and transformation of water, as the Bureau of Meteorology is now required to do under the Water Act 2007, is complex.
The Bureau receives information about the nation's fresh water resources from more than 100,000 monitoring sites across the country. More than 75 parameters are measured. To date, more than eight million files of data have been collected from more than 200 sources.
Piecing together a picture of Australia's water resources is like building a jigsaw puzzle. The critical piece of infrastructure that the Bureau uses to assemble the pieces is known as AWRIS, the Australian Water Resources Information System. It receives, normalises, quality assures, stores and shares this vital information.