Old bridge over the Murray River at Wahgunyah, Victoria

The Short-term Water Forecasting and Prediction project seeks to provide a more accurate understanding of Australia's water outlook

Short-term water forecasting and prediction

The Short-term Water Forecasting and Prediction project is part of the Water Information Research and Development Alliance between CSIRO's Water for a Healthy Country Flagship and the Bureau of Meteorology.

  • 28 April 2009 | Updated 11 March 2014

Project summary

Water scarcity is a major challenge facing Australia. The need to accurately monitor, assess and forecast the availability, condition and use of water resources is now more vital than ever.

A key component of the Water Information Research and Development Alliance is developing short-term water forecasting and prediction to assist the Bureau of Meteorology with improved flood forecasts.

Objective

The Bureau of Meteorology’s forecasting and warning services will be expanded to include continuous flow forecasting to improve river and water resources management.

The current hydrological model used by the Bureau of Meteorology for flood forecasting is event-based.

The Short-term Water Forecasting and Prediction project will develop methods to extend the current modelling system to support continuous flow forecasting to enable:

  • increased accuracy
  • extended lead-time
  • a diverse suite of new products
  • forecasts of high and low water conditions
  • frequent and routine updates
  • the ability to communicate uncertainty in the forecasts.

Key research deliverables

By 2013, the Short-term Water Forecasting and Prediction project will have developed a system well-suited to the challenges of a fast-paced forecasting environment, using:

The Short-term Water Forecasting and Prediction project will develop methods to extend the current modelling system to support continuous flow forecasting.

  • a testbed for comparing the benefits of new methods of streamflow forecasting, including the evaluation of several continuous rainfall-runoff models
  • software applications that can be run within the Bureau of Meteorology’s existing forecasting systems
  • methods that specifically focus on ensuring that the model makes reliable forecasts.

Forecasts will be available all year round, even during low flow periods, diversifying beyond an audience only interested in floods.

Simulations of other hydrologic variables, for example soil moisture, are also possible and the project will develop and test new products that take advantage of the additional information available.

Partner

The research alliance brings together Water for a Healthy Country’s leading expertise in water and information sciences with the Bureau of Meteorology’s operational role in hydrologic analysis and prediction.

The Bureau of Meteorology is drawing on CSIRO research expertise to improve the information available to Australia’s water industry and increase its capacity to manage our water resources.

Find out more about the Short-term Water Forecasting and Prediction [fact sheet, PDF 388KB] project and the Water Information Research and Development Alliance.