Issued: 4pm AEDT Wednesday 30 November 2022
The Bureau of Meteorology’s third version of the Murray–Darling Basin Water Information Portal (MDB WIP) includes a new river schematics feature to support Basin portal users in decision-making.
The information portal is being developed over five main version releases rolled out over three years. The newly released third version further supports communities and water users through greater transparency and better access to information.
The web-based portal includes water availability, water in storages, allocation volumes, water trade and prices, and weather and climate information for the Basin.
The portal brings together current and historical information which users can search by town, river, catchment or current location. It creates a central place for water information for this important agricultural region.
Bureau of Meteorology General Manager Agriculture and Water, Matthew Coulton, said version 3 includes the new feature of river schematics for five major catchments, providing detailed information on river flow and water availability for the Gwydir, Namoi, Macquarie-Castlereagh, Lachlan and Murrumbidgee river catchments.
“There is a diverse range of people living in the Basin and the Bureau is aiming to create a product that meets a diverse range of requirements. Many of our customers have told us that these river schematics are useful tools to understand how water flows through a catchment. This is our first release of these maps and we are asking for further feedback so we can incorporate improvements and extend to other catchments across the Basin,” he said.
The portal is being regularly updated in response to user feedback. For version 3, this community-led design process also resulted in the inclusion of:
The water markets data includes reasons for trade and strike date, where state government authorities have been able to provide it. This information is an important contribution to the delivery of the Australian Government’s Water market reform roadmap.
Mr Coulton said the Murray–Darling Basin Water Information Portal has been designed in consultation with Basin communities and the Bureau will continue to seek feedback throughout the development of subsequent versions to ensure it meets user needs.
“The Bureau is taking a community-led approach to designing a platform that meets the requirements of a very broad user base. Our customers include community groups, Indigenous people, farmers, recreational water users, and other interested groups, and we are trying to build something they will all benefit from,” he said.
Phil Duncan, Gomeroi Nation Indigenous man and Chair of the Murray-Darling Basin Community Committee said the portal is easy to understand and easy to navigate.
“It means that all people have access to the same information at the same time. It builds a more confident understanding of the water that moves through different jurisdictions, catchments, towns and communities. I think it’s a tool that can build stronger relationships and it is a great conversation starter,” he said.
The portal is being developed by the Bureau in partnership with the Murray–Darling Basin Authority, the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, and Basin state governments.
Version 1 of the MDB WIP launched in June 2021 and version 2 in June 2022.
Versions 4 and 5 will be released in 2023.
Basin communities should stay up to date with the latest forecast and warnings on the Bureau’s website or Bureau’s weather app, and follow all advice from their local emergency services on what to do before, during and after severe weather.