31.1 Evaporation from off–channel water storages

Supporting information

This line item refers to the evaporation that occurred on off–channel water storages within the Canberra region. The evaporation volume from off–channel water storages was 5,701 ML for 2011–12 year. These water storages are private storages and include farm dams. For more information on these storages see the Off–channel storages water storages region note. 

Evaporation from off–channel storages within the Canberra region
Evaporation from off–channel private store Volume (ML)
Bendora catchment 11
Canberra downstream 4,624
Corin catchment 4
Cotter catchment 9
Googong catchment 1,053
Total 5,701

Quantification approach

Data source

The Bureau of Meteorology (The Bureau), National Climate Centre daily climate grids (rainfall, temperature and solar radiation); Geoscience Australia, mapping of human-made waterbodies spatial dataset, built-up areas spatial dataset and 9 arc-second digital elevation model (DEM).

Provided by

The Bureau.


The potential evaporation estimate produced by the Australian Water Resources Assessment system Landscape model  (AWRA-L) version 2.0.0 (Van Dijk 2010) was used to calculate evaporation from the private  water store. The AWRA-L model uses a modified version of the Penman-Monteith method to produce the potential evaporation. A water balance based FORTRAN code tool was used to determining the amount of water available for evaporation from individual private storages.

Using climate grid data for the Canberra region (including precipitation, temperature and solar radiation data), monthly, open water evaporation data produced by the Bureau of Meteorology were calculated, based on daily gridded climate data that are available on a 0.05 degree (approximately 5 km) national grid.

The Canberra region was divided up into five subregions for the purpose of estimating the water balance of the private store. The four of the subregions were the catchments of the major storages and the fifth was the remaining land.

The private store consisted of off–channel storages filled primarily by rainfall-runoff. These were determined from waterbody mapping provided by Geoscience Australia and were waterbodies that were greater than 50 m from built-up areas in the Canberra region.

The potential average evaporation depth across the Canberra subregions was determined as the weighted mean of potential evaporation occurring from the relevant grid points within the region boundary. Points were weighted upon the area they represented within the Canberra landscape to remove edge effects (where the area represented is not wholly within the reporting region) and the effect of changing area represented with changing latitude. The average potential evaporation was used as an input into the water balance based FORTRAN code tool. The tool determines the water stored in each private reservoir at each time point and determines the volumetric potential evaporation by multiplying potential evaporation by reservoir surface area. It assumes that actual evaporation will occur at the same rate as potential evaporation unless reservoir empties, at which time evaporation will cease.

Assumptions, limitations, caveats and approximations

  • The AWRA_L potential evaporation estimates are subject to approximations associated with interpolating the observation point input data to a national grid as described in Jones et al. (2007).
  • The estimated volume available in storage for evaporation is subject to the assumptions associated with the water balance based FORTRAN code tool and the parameters used.
  • The spatial extent of waterbodies subject to the assumptions and methods associated with the data provided by Geoscience Australia.

Uncertainty information

The uncertainty estimate was not quantified.