L6. Water information and its roles in water resources assessment and management

The efficient management and assessment of the water resources has become an increasingly important and challenging task in the context of rising demands from water use sectors and the effects of climate variability and climate change on water availability. The Commonwealth Water Act 2007 charges the Bureau of Meteorology with the ‘water information role’ in acknowledgement of the importance of this role in decision-making processes to improve water management. We are living on a planet that is now generating more than 43,000GB of data per day; we have a similar situation in the Bureau of Meteorology’s Climate and Water Division, we are receiving an ocean of water information/data (over 16,000 data files/day). This proposed session will reflect on the opportunity that comes with that ocean of water data/information and the role it can play in water resources management and assessment. The observed data, computing models and advanced analytics we have today actually allow us to use that information/data, not merely to sense and respond but to predict and back-cast. So water data/information is not just telling us what is going on in the world or to our water resources-it is telling us where the water resources are going by better understanding the trend and variability of our water systems and resources based on the historical observed data and other sources of information. Recognising patterns, crystallising trends by using available information can assist in making smarter decisions and policy and provide a detailed and right insights to the water resources and systems. Thus, this session will look at new ways to analyse, use and present the available water information, in a way that will be useful to water managers, policy makers, and for the benefit of the nation. The Bureau’s Water Information roles and products are providing accurate and timely information on the status and usage of Australia’s water resources. For example, the Australian Water Resources Assessment reports include scientifically robust analysis and interpretation of changes in water availability, patterns of intake and usage of those resources. The Water Storage website of the Bureau provides a national coverage of accessible water in storage (total of 285 major storages with capacity over 1GL) facilitating analysis of volume of water in storage based on state, capital city, drainage division and major water supply system.