Using an evidence-based approach in the optimisation of water allocation decisions
Susan Nichols, Michael Peat, Sue Powell, OAM, Sue Briggs, Mark Lintermans, Fiona Dyer, Using an evidence-based approach in the optimisation of water allocation decisions, Gary Jones (eWater), Geoff Adams (eWater), Chris Hepplewhite (ACTEW), Bill Johnson (MDBA), Fran Sheldon (GU), Angus Webb (UM), Quentin Grafton (ANU), Wayne Robinson (CSU), Mike Stewardson (MU), Linda Botterill (UC) and Renee Brawata (MBDfutures)
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Evidence-based decision making is Australian Government policy that requires formal mechanisms and tools to enable it. The modelling activities undertaken in this project will expand our capacity to optimally allocate water for environmental and consumptive purposes, and hence improve our ability to manage river systems and demonstrate the benefits of environmental water allocations. This project will determine ecological water requirements for aquatic communities and develop ‘proof of concept’ eco-hydrology models and optimization framework to assist in understanding the trade-offs between environmental-flow benefits and other consumptive uses, such as irrigation or town water supply. The project team are working to:
• Quantify ecological response to flow for aquatic vegetation, benthic invertebrates and fish
• Use scientific evidence to establish flow requirements for these biological components of the ecosystem (which are commonly used as indicators of ecosystem health) and develop ‘proof of concept’ models that link ecological response and hydrology
• Incorporate a multi-objective optimization modelling approach to provide decision-makers with a range of optimal alternatives. This method will enable visualization of the trade-offs amongst objectives to aid decision-making.