Water Information Standards Business Forum

The Water Information Standards Business Forum (the Forum) is a national committee chaired by the Bureau to coordinate and foster the development of water information standards and guidelines in Australia.

The Forum membership (14KB) comprises over 25 industry organisations who share an interest in advancing consistent water information standards at the national level.

The Forum has been operating since December 2010, and now meets at 6 monthly intervals. You can read the meeting minutes and next steps (139KB) from the last meeting which was held on 22 May 2014.

A standard approach

The Forum operates in accordance with a set of foundation documents which describe Forum functions and clarify key terms, processes and procedures. These protocols, including the Forum Terms of Reference (37KB), provide a consistent narrative and reference point for activities of the Forum.

The Forum glossary (41KB) promotes common interpretation and usage of terms relating to Forum activities. The Forum has also agreed on a Standards terminology model (39KB) to describe the various categories of water information standards and guidelines.

Endorsement of standards and guidelines is a principle function of the Forum. Forum endorsement is a decision reached by a majority of Forum members to approve and give support to a standard or guideline developed in accordance with the Forum endorsement process (217KB). Endorsement signifies that the standard or guideline aligns with industry recommended practice.

National Industry Guidelines for hydrometric monitoring

The Forum has endorsed a series of ten National Industry Guidelines for hydrometric monitoring. National Industry Guidelines contain high level guidance and targets and are promoted for national adoption by organisations involved in water data collection. The guidelines are non-mandatory and represent industry recommended practice.

In 2014 the Forum Secretariat surveyed 16 major water monitoring organisations from across Australia to determine the level of adoption and implementation of the guidelines into the organisation's water monitoring quality systems. The results of the survey will be presented at the Australian Hydrographers Conference on October 31st at Homebush NSW.

Current Forum activities

The Forum has recently reviewed an initial draft National Industry Guideline for water quality metadata. The draft guideline builds from work already completed as part of a project funded through the Modernisation and Extension of Hydrologic Monitoring Systems program in 2011. The new guideline will establish nationally standardised water quality metadata requirements and provide a consistent approach to describing all relevant information associated with the collection of water quality data. A standardised approach will allow for the comparability, accuracy and interpretability of water quality data, now and into the future irrespective of its source. Consultation on the draft guideline begins in August 2014.

Other activities of the Forum include development of a standards database, and investigation into the need for more detailed groundwater data collection standards or guidelines.

The Forum is also working in collaboration with the Australian Hydrographers Association to determine customer needs around data quality, as a step toward developing national data quality guidelines. As work progresses in these areas, more detail will be published here.

Consultation on standards and guidelines

At various times, the Forum will call for consultation on standards and guidelines in development. We will advertise these activities on this webpage and via professional and industry bodies.

Consultation open, 4 August to 19 September 2014

You are invited to participate in the current consultation phase for the initial draft of the National Industry Guideline for water quality metadata.