Hydrologic Reference Stations


The Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau) conducted stakeholder engagement to gain insight into the key drivers of streamflow, water availability and data quality across different catchments. This provided a platform to assess, rank and prioritise streamflow stations for use in short term (up to 10 days) seasonal (up to a few months) and long-term (decadal and interdecadal) forecasting across Australia.

The consultation:

  1. Informed the aim, objective and proposed outcome of the Australian Network of Hydrologic Reference Stations,
  2. Identified any additional reference stations that were not considered in the preliminary station selection process, and
  3. Identified influences within the catchment of the proposed streamflow reference stations that may compromise the quality of observed streamflow.

Seventy participants from state and territory agencies and water authorities across Australia and the Bureau's Regional Hydrology Managers provided feedback on the main influences in the catchments of each streamflow gauging station identified in the preliminary analysis.

Each participant responded to a number of questions relating to upstream diversions, irrigation structures within the catchment, upstream point source discharges, past land use (farm dams, clearing, forestry, urbanisation, fire and water resource development) and potential future effects (see the Station Selection Guidelines page). Stakeholders also commented on the importance (water supply or ecological) and hydrological quality of each streamflow gauging station.

The consultation process identified an additional 116 streamflow stations in Australia to be considered for inclusion in the Hydrologic Reference Stations. This resulted in a network of 259 hydrologic reference stations across Australia. After applying criteria for length and quality of record, 222 reference stations were identified and are presented in Hydrological Reference Stations. A full report on the stakeholder consultation process is available from Turner and Bari (2011).

In the current update, 340 additional streamflow stations in Australia were considered for inclusion in HRS. This resulted in a network of 562 hydrologic reference stations across Australia. After applying criteria for length and quality of record, 467 reference stations met the guidelines for inclusion in the current Hydrological Reference Stations (update 2020).

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