River operations management within the River Murray in South Australia is a complex balance of water flows and water levels to meet the demands of water supply, water quality targets and environmental conditions. As environmental water demands increase in volume and complexity, the management of the river requires a user friendly flexible model of potential outcomes from management options. This project commenced the development of a Decision Support System to meet the needs of the South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR), River Murray Operations branch. The model was developed in the Source software platform and was built on a previous Source model and existing modelling capability within the Science, Monitoring and Knowledge Branch of DEWNR, within the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) and within the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Source was chosen as the software platform because of the commitment by MDBA and other states to support this tool as the hydrological modelling platform for Australia.
The project successfully enhanced an existing river model for the River Murray in South Australia. The Source model was extended to include all the major river operation levers including 5 weirs, 4 Lock by-passes and 5 wetland complexes. The model was also enhanced to include water quality modelling of salinity, blackwater and blue-green algae blooms. The project developed a simple user interface to manipulate, run and analyse river management scenarios. This user interface tool
external to Source is the first of its kind. The user interface allows users to design scenarios, run and analyse results.
Improvements and efficiencies in the forecasting of river management scenarios within DEWNR are likely to be achieved by adopting the Murray DSS approach and changing the way climate scenarios are run, changing the way DEWNR set up and run scenarios and improving the way they visualise the results in Source. The capacity of DEWNR to run river management scenarios will be increased by
improving the workflow in using the river model and the simple user interface for non-Source experienced staff to set-up, run and analyse scenarios, as demonstrated by the prototype. This model functionality converts a three day request from one branch to another for a single scenario to allowing them to run multiple scenarios within a planning meeting. The river model forms a backbone and allows decision criteria to be modelled as an add-on functionality. This was
demonstrated with water quality models being developed. The system is simple to use and can be extended to increase its capability. The resulting prototype DSS has demonstrated potential for this tool to be expanded to include environmental response and other economic and social criteria for river operations.