Source overview

Built by collaborative industry and research development teams from leading Australian universities and from water industry organisations, with the help of generous funding from the Australian government, the Source platform is underpinned by world-class science and technical innovation and has been fully trialled and tested in a wide range of real-world water use situations. It is also:

  • customisable to meet different planning and management settings
  • flexible in response to evolving user needs and third-party models
  • backed by a professional customer support and training team, and
  • used by a growing network of water industry professionals.

eWater Source is an enterprise modelling platform and incorporates:

  • industry-standard water management tools
  • information and data resources
  • customisation and flexibility
  • and supports scientific research and knowledge. 

Features & Benefits

Captures variability
Varying hydrologic regimes as basis for analysis.

Respects governance and recognises water for economic good  (only available in the full version of Source)
Water is tracked through the system based on state and country boundaries or other user-defined jurisdictions or sectors.

Encourages sharing between sectors and users
Resource assessment methods are used to allocate water between different competing uses and users within a jurisdiction.

Facilitates understanding and negotiation
Determine the prioritisation of use and access according to policy decisions.

Provides specialised reporting and assessment
The ability to create a water budget both by source and as an asset class according to use. Assessment is similar to financial markets and recognises water for economic and growth potential.

Design and implement policy
The ability to “game” water entitlements and governance, and operationalise the outcomes.

Target user group

Source is a flexible and integrated enterprise product which can be configured to the needs of each organisation. For example if the initial need is urban, eWater Source will be configured to model the urban water cycle. Later on if it becomes necessary to model the catchments which are close to the urban area, Source would then be configured to model both the catchments and urban requirements. Organisations using Source can choose the urban, catchment or river planning and operations configuration. This capability to be extensible and flexible allows users to “future proof” their needs.


Source allows for scaleable solutions to be developed and address the impact that uncertainties in models and inputs have on the outcomes. Source expresses the ‘Adaptive Complexity’ principle where data, models and outcomes have to be considered when designing a modelling approach as articulated in the eWater Best Practice Modelling Guidelines.

Source is not a single hydrological model. It is a range of models and tools that have been incorporated into a single flexible adaptable environment that recognises the practical political and technical issues in developing water policy and the need for transparency and sustainability. It can easily be customised by users to address specific local problems, or can be pre-configured for typical IWRM situations.

Source operates through a high-level graphical interface, more like a manager’s “workbench” or “dashboard” than a traditional hydrologic or hydraulic model. The interface is deceptively simple as it begins with a schematic view of the watershed or river which is built by dragging icons from a palette to create a conceptual view. At this high level scale, simple computational engines can be used to quickly and easily explore with stakeholders the practical way a river basin operates, without significant data requirements. Rainfall-runoff models, pollutant export models, sediment/nutrient retention (filter) models, link routing models, link decay models, nodal process models , are all selected from a wide range of alternatives and can be assigned globally or by individual computational unit within the entire model domain. For example many standard rainfall-runoff models have been incorporated into the code already and each sub-catchment can use a different model if so desired. 

Source (public version)

Source (public version) is a free version of eWater Source – Australia's National Hydrological Modelling Platform.  It is designed to simulate all aspects of water resource systems to support Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) studies in urban, catchments and river basins including human and ecological influences. 

Unlike the full version of Source, Source (public version) does not contain water management and governance capabilities, however can be applied as a sectoral water balance tool which forms the basis of development and testing of transboundary IWRM water governance approaches in the full version.

Source (public version) provides a consistent hydrological and water quality modelling and reporting framework to support transparent urban, catchment and river management decisions. Fundamental to this design is the flexibility which makes it readily customisable and easy to update as new science becomes available. New capabilities can be incorporated via plugins developed to suit particular needs while maintaining the overarching consistent decision and policy framework.

What’s included in Source (public version)?

  • Unrestricted in terms of number of nodes/links and geographic extent
  • Geographic and Schematic Editor
  • Multiple rainfall-runoff models and link routing methods
  • Water quality (both in catchments and rivers)
  • Wide range of demand models including Crop Models, Environmental Demand, Time Series and Function Editor
  • NETLP for spatial optimisation of multi-supply systems
  • Insight for optimisation and trade-off analysis
  • Advanced groundwater-surface water interaction
  • Function Editor for designing custom algorithms
  • Plugin Manager for developing your own tools and integrating them into Source
  • Plugins developed and shared by our community members
  • eWater’s Best Practice Modelling Guidelines
  • User forum and FAQs
  • Online context-sensitive help and manuals
  • Introductory training videos and courses

Source (public version) forms the basis for development and testing of transboundary IWRM water governance approaches, available in the full version of Source.

To download Source (public version), see Access & licensing or visit the product page on the eWater Toolkit. Please login or become a member of the eWater Toolkit to download the software, documentation and supporting plugins. Membership is free and gives you access to the whole suite of eco-hydrological tools in the Toolkit.