Rainfall-runoff modelling across northern Australia

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Petheram, Cuan ORCID ID icon; Rustomji, Paul; Vleeshouwer, Jamie



119 pp

2009 Rainfall-runoff modelling across northern Australia Recommendations Future rainfall-runoff modelling at the drainage division and continental scales be undertaken using a consistent and robust set of methods The application of a consistent and robust set of methods to estimate runoff across the three jurisdictions of northern Australia means for the first time estimates of runoff in different river basins are directly comparable. Runoff estimates made by the one project team assisted in the identification of irregularities in streamflow data and anomalous modelling results, through comparison with neighbouring catchments and regions (e.g. due to the presence of a major distributary channel upstream of a gauge or the gauge being situated within a ‘loosing catchment’). It is recommended that future modelling of runoff at the drainage division and continental scales be undertaken by a single team using a consistent and robust set of methods, and with adequate resourcing and time to enable meaningful and on-going engagement with local hydrographers and hydrologists. Compile a database of high quality streamflow gauging stations for northern Australia There is considerable scope for refining the ‘acceptable’ streamflow gauging station network used in this project, particularly in Queensland. Streamflow gauging station data should be assessed for suitability for different uses (e.g. water resources assessment, flood analysis, low flow studies). The assessment process should incorporate the knowledge and expertise of local hydrographers as well as rainfall-runoff modelling to identify irregularities in station data. Currently different organisations have to compile their own databases on streamflow, often with very limited quality control. The compilation and subsequent maintenance of publically available high quality streamflow databases would greatly reduce duplication of effort and help ensure only high quality streamflow data are used in analysis and planning. Review the outcomes of recent jurisdictional reviews of streamflow gauging station networks Jurisdictions across Australia regularly undertake reviews of their streamflow gauging station networks. Queensland, for example, has a review currently in progress. In consultation with the jurisdictions there may be opportunities to help expedite some of the outcomes of these reviews (e.g. the installation of new gauging stations) as well as provide incentives to counteract less desirable outcomes (e.g. retaining some sites identified for closure). Expedite greater availability of high quality streamflow data across northern Australia. There are opportunities to rapidly augment the suitable streamflow gauging network for water resource assessment in some parts of northern Australia. Many streamflow gauging stations have sufficient length of observed stage height data but lack suitable rating curve information. The provision of resources to enable the development of rating curves for these stations would enable a large quantity of additional streamflow data to become immediately available. Developing high stage ratings in remote and coastal sites is problematic because of difficulties accessing sites during the wet season. In the past, helicopters have been used to ferry hydrographers into remote sites equipped with camping huts and cableways. While helicopters are no longer available for use by hydrographers, new technology offers the potential to overcome some of the difficulties associated with remote sites. Side looking Doppler technology for example, has been tested very successfully at remote Gulf sites. Doppler technology is not suitable for all sites, but suitable sites could be equipped until sufficient data have been collected to obtain a satisfactory rating, where-upon the Doppler could then be moved to another site. Closed sites could be equipped and retrospectively rated. Other new technologies such as lidar and sophisticat



Rainfall-runoff modelling, northern Australia, runoff, streamflow, climate change, regionalisation

Surfacewater Hydrology

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© Copyright 2009 CSIRO

Water for a Healthy Country National Research Flagship. A report to the Australian Government from the CSIRO Norther Australia Sustainable Yields Project


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Petheram, Cuan; Rustomji, Paul; Vleeshouwer, Jamie. Rainfall-runoff modelling across northern Australia. CSIRO: CSIRO; 2009. csiro:EP113491. https://doi.org/10.4225/08/584af30de743b

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