Amendments 2012 – Answers to questions asked at the workshops

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At what point is data considered to be in my 'possession, custody or control'? How does this translate to data delivery frequency obligations?

Under the Water Regulations 2008, persons are required to give specified electronic water information that is in their possession, custody or control. Information is in a person's possession, custody or control once it is in a person's data management system.

Therefore information that is in a field based data logger is not, for the purposes of the Water Regulations, regarded as being in a person's possession, custody or control. The timeframes in the Water Regulations only apply from the moment that specified water information is in a person's data management system.

I collect components of a subcategory of water information. Am I obliged to add these together, to give to the Bureau, as per the subcategory?

Where a subcategory of information requires you to give an aggregate number such as ‘total volume of potable water supplied’ and you only measure a component of the potable water you supply but not the balance, then the information requested is not in your possession, so you do not have to give it. If however you measure most of the potable water you supply, we would expect you to give that measurement. If the information is in your possession in multiple segments and merely needs to be compiled, then you are required to compile and provide it.

Will I have to resend historical data to the Bureau, for the new and modified categories of water information?

If you have already sent the historical information for a subcategory and that subcategory is changed, then you are not required to resend that historical information, as it is already in the Bureau’s possession. If you have not sent the historical information for the subcategory, you are still required to send it.

You are required to send historical information for new subcategories within 3 months of the making of the amendment.

Will the Bureau provide a forward plan of product releases and data requirements?

The Bureau will, in the near future, produce a calendar of proposed product releases and data requirement requests.

Other Commonwealth agencies are also requesting that water data be supplied to them. Can we just direct them to the Bureau?

We are working with agencies such as the ACCC and MDBA to minimise the duplication of data requests. For a while, however, duplication is likely to continue.

When will the Water Restrictions tool be released?

The Water Restrictions tool will be released in early 2012.

How does the National Groundwater Information System [NGIS] relate to the Water Regulations?

At this time there is very little overlap between the regulations observations data, its related metadata, and the NGIS. However, over time we will enable the linking of observations to aquifers through the integration of NGIS spatial information, and regulations observations data.

Category 2 in the Water Regulations is concerned with groundwater observations data supported by reference information (metadata). The observations typically make up a time series.

The National Groundwater Information System (NGIS) is funded by the National Water Commission and the Bureau of Meteorology. NGIS is primarily concerned with the classification of aquifers, and with the development of a three dimensional national aquifer representation. It will bring together groundwater information from state and territory agencies. Harmonised to a common standard in a national database, it aims to improve our collective understanding and management of Australian groundwater resources. Eventually NGIS data will be integrated with the Australian Hydrological Geospatial Fabric (Geofabric), and the Australian Water Resources Information System (AWRIS) developed by the Bureau, and will be made available online to the public.

Is it possible to develop a tool, possibly in Hydstra, that grabs data from across several databases and incorporates them into a WDTF feed to the Bureau? This would support tracking by the supplying agency, of the data sent.

In some cases, agencies have multiple databases across which data required by the regulations is stored. This is particularly an issue for agencies with both water and environment functions.

The Bureau has noted this as a 'tool development' request, and will review this with other tool development prioritisation, and post updates here.

Measuring points may have more than one sensor collecting similar information. What information should be given to the Bureau?

An example occurs where separate sensors at the same measuring point, for a watercourse, are used to measure low and high flows. The Bureau’s preference is that a single value or series of values be sent, supported by appropriate metadata. This value or set of values may be an aggregation of two or more sets of data.

An alternative example is where temperatures are being measured at different depths at a single x,y location. In this case, discrete values for each depth would need to be provided.

Can data that is collected as a cumulative series be provided as such, rather than as discrete totals?

Yes. WDTF supports cumulative readings. Supply the information as cumulative readings. See the WDTF for more information.

If I have the specified data, but not at the time frequency the Bureau requires, when do I have to give it?

Where data such as watercourse level (category 1a) is required to be delivered by you to the Bureau daily, and you only download this data from your data logger to your Data Management System each month, then you are required to provide this data by noon on the day after you have entered it into your Data Management System.

Given that Flow can be derived from Level through the application of a Ratings Table, do stakeholders have to provide flow (discharge) data where they are providing level and the appropriate ratings tables?

Yes. The Bureau would prefer to receive Level, Flow and the Rating Table information.
If the provider does not store or derive flow on their database management system then they do not have to send it to us.

Maximum/minimum air temperature is widely collected. Should maximum/minimum temperature be a requirement in the Water Regulations?

The Bureau may add max/min air temperature at a future date.

How will the Bureau report ‘treated drinking water’ that is supplied for irrigation?

Water supplied for agricultural use will be reported as such. The report will not indicate whether or not the water was first treated.

An irrigation corporation reports that it has an unknown quantity of un-metered tile drainage pumps (hundreds) owned by landholders, with no mechanism to measure discharge. Many variables affect its ability to estimate discharge, such as variable climate conditions over a large area, and numerous types of on-farm irrigation methods. How should it report this information?

As this information is not collected by that corporation, the irrigation corporation is not required to give it to the Bureau.

An irrigation corporation operates a series of tubewells to control groundwater levels to protect permanent plantings from excessive groundwater rise. The groundwater discharged from the tubewells is returned to the drainage channel system. Does this data need to be reported under 5ab and or 5b?

There is no need to report data from the tubewells, under 5ab or 5b.

As the water is not classed as a return to a watercourse, there is no need to report under 5b.

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