1

eWater Limited Board elects new chair and board members

eWater Group Board of Directors 2022
eWater Group Board of Directors 2022

Our recent Annual General Meeting marked a great opportunity for our Board and people to come together to share and celebrate our achievements in 2022.

This year, we farewelled our former chairman, Don Blackmore AM, who was chair since the formation of eWater in 2005. Don made an incredible contribution to Australian water management through various roles including Chief Executive of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, and Deputy Chair of Land and Water Australia.

The AGM also marked new beginnings with the election of a new chair, Greg Claydon PSM, and two new Independent Directors, Kathryn Silvester, and Dr Grace Mitchell. They join our ongoing Directors – Murray Rankin, Bob McMullan, David Dreverman, Deb Brown, Mitchell Isaacs, and Andrew Reynolds on an expanded Board.

Each of our Directors brings a diverse range of skills and experience to our organisation including water policy and management, commercialisation of Australian technology, international development, research and development, public policy, governance, and strategic planning.

Greg Claydon, Chair, and Independent Director

Greg has extensive experience within the water industry as well as natural resources management, both in Australia and internationally. He has been recognised at state, national, and international levels for his work in water and associated national resources reforms, in whole of river basins planning and management, and in integrated urban water management. Greg has held many board memberships including the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, International Water Centre, COAG Water Reform Committee.

Dr Grace Mitchell, New Independent Director

Grace brings a wealth of knowledge to the eWater Limited Board including leading numerous high-profile, complex, multi-disciplinary initiatives that have required significant stakeholder engagement and negotiation within and between state and federal governments. With a PhD in Environmental Engineering from Monash University, Dr Mitchell has a proven track record in delivering complex policy initiatives and program outcomes, which will benefit the eWater Limited Board and eWater’s government owners, customers, stakeholders, and clients.

Kathryn Silvester, New Independent Director

Kathryn brings extensive knowledge and experience to the eWater Board including her work at the Sydney Water Corporation as Resilience and Climate Changer Adaptation Manager. Kathryn is a passionate water professional and has been a member of the International Water Association and Australia Water Association strategic councils, providing advice to their Boards of Directors.

Murray Rankin, Re-elected Independent Director

Murray is a director and chair of numerous boards of innovative Australian companies as well as serve on several government boards as a technology adviser. He has won numerous national business awards including the Telstra Small Business of The Year. He is an occasional lecturer in business strategy at the Australian National University, Macquarie University and Melbourne Business School.

David Dreverman, Independent Director

David has held many distinguished roles over his extensive career, including Executive Director, River Management, Murray-Darling Basin Authority, and General Manager, River Murray Water of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission. He has also worked as a consultant in the engineering industry; with SMEC, Hydro Electric Commission Tasmania and Australian Power and Water. David has been involved with large dam and hydropower projects, both in Australia and overseas for more than forty years.

Bob McMullan, Independent Director

Bob has held several ministerial positions in the federal government over his career, including Minister for the Arts, Minister for Trade, and Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance.  He represented the Australian Capital Territory in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

Since leaving parliament, Bob has been involved in a range of activities, with a focus on international development, including Director of the ANU Crawford Leadership Forum, Board Member for the Crawford Fund and Foundation for Development Cooperation and as Australian Executive/Alternate Director for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Mitchell Isaacs, Owner-nominated Director

Mitchell Isaacs has worked in water related roles in the NSW Government since 2009 and from November 2020 as the Chief Knowledge Officer, Water Group, in the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. Prior to joining the NSW Government, Mitchell worked as a research scientist in Australia and Japan, and as a project management advisor to the Cambodian Government’s Fisheries Administration.

Deb Brown, Owner-nominated Director

Deb Brown is the Executive Director, Catchment Waterways Cities and Towns in the Water and Catchments Group of the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and a trusted and respected water leader with over 20 years’ experience within the public sector. Over her career, Deb has specialised in urban water management and conservation, environment, and river health improvement, and more recently in improving Traditional Owner inclusion in water management.

Andrew Reynolds, Owner-nominated Director

Andrew Reynolds has more than 24 years’ experience in the water industry, managing major water supply infrastructure, as well as extensive knowledge in the fields of engineering project management, dam safety and construction management. Andrew is the Executive Director, River Management at the Murray-Darling Basin Authority. Prior to that role, Andrew held various roles with Goulburn-Murray Water which included management of the Headworks business responsible for 16 large dams and associated infrastructure, delivery of several major dam safety upgrade projects, and leading the business’ engineering and scientific resources.

eWater Group and its people are happy to welcome new and continuing members of the eWater Limited Board to vital strategic conversations about Australia’s and the globe’s water future.





Meet Our People at eWater

Mukta Sapkota, Urban Hydrologist

Why is urban hydrology so important? Why do we need to care? And what does an urban hydrologist do exactly? All good questions to a complex and vital industry, particularly in Australia and its diverse weather and climate.

At the eWater Group, we have a broad skillset. We are made up of hydrologists, software developers, water industry experts and innovators. We are diverse, experienced, and most importantly we have a strong heritage of supporting sustainable water management.

Mukta Sapkota is one of our resident Urban Hydrologists, who has been working at the eWater Group for nearly four years, together with more than 10 years’ experience in urban water systems and hydrology in Australia and overseas.

At eWater…

Mukta provides specialist technical support to eWater Source, MUSIC, and Urban Developer software users.

“As part of my role, I provide specialist technical support to eWater software users and assist in the delivery of various water projects and training courses. I also test and document the specification of the new and existing functionality of eWater software, and am involved in the development of business development proposals and participate in project applications.”

For Mukta, not one day is the same. “One minute I am providing modelling support to a client, the next moment, I am into software hydro-testing, then documentation. I am very passionate about sustainable water management and thrilled to work at eWater that subscribes to the same vision. I always enjoy helping people learn and solve their problems.”

“My role at eWater provides a great opportunity to challenge myself and test my skills. I love the variety and wonderful things I am learning each day by supporting clients. I equally enjoy delivering training.

Sustainable water management approach

Countries around the world, including Australia, are facing increased pressure on water resources from growing populations, social and economic ambitions, increasing industrialization, demanding agriculture, and environmental flow needs. In addition to this, changing climate and an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events have added extra pressure.

For Mukta, an integrated water planning approach that considers demand management, wastewater/ stormwater recycling/reuse, and water trade/transfer, is required to support resilience to climate change, the wider pressures of various demands, and environmental protection. Such a development of sustainable water management needs holistic modelling tools.

“eWater’s Source, integrated with Urban Developer and MUSICX, offers an integrated modelling platform to support water managers in modelling such complex water management problems and help in decision-making for sustainable water management.”

Supporting Women and Girls

The future of water resources and sustainability isn’t the only issue Mukta is passionate about – supporting women and girls in hydrology.

A sustainable workforce requires diversity. Giving women and girls opportunities to consider hydrology, or other STEM roles, starts with education and creating opportunities to go into these fields as adults, as well as breaking down the barriers for current female hydrologists in the industry.

“I believe we need more women and girls in hydrology to maintain gender diversity for creating a healthy work environment at workplaces. We also need more women in higher management to foster gender equality and put forth women in leadership to ensure this principle is implemented.”

Mukta is just one great example of women, in both Australia and internationally, being supported to pursue and thrive in STEM careers, and eWater is excited to have her as part of our team.




MUSICX v1.10

MUSICX, the industry-leading stormwater modelling tool, has been completely re-designed and rewritten while maintaining all the capabilities of classic MUSIC.

MUSICX is the most significant upgrade of MUSIC in a decade. The users will see many additional benefits in our upcoming production release (v1.10) including a powerful and flexible tabular data editor.

Join us for a live demonstration on: 24 November 2022 Thursday, 2 pm (AEDT)  

Register your interest > Webinar Registration – Zoom

New features in MUSICX v1.10:

•             Tabular model data editor

•             Text/Excel export and import features for nodes

•             Muskingum Link storage routing

•             Summary Report Generation capability (like MUSIC v6.3)

•             Background image supported

•             Improvement in Results Manager

•             Editable Advance Model parameters

•             Additional functionalities

Our live demonstration will offer an opportunity to see firsthand how this vital tool is helping to inform the development of water quality and quantity standards in our towns and cities across Australia and overseas.

MUSICX is a critical tool that enables urban developers, planners, and engineers to manage the impact of urban development and other land use changes on waterways.

To learn more about MUSIC head to our website > ewater.org.au/products/




Welcome to Damien Pearson, General Manager

Damien Pearson has joined eWater in the recently created role of General Manager. Reporting to the eWater Limited Group CEO, Michael Wilson, Damien will be responsible for the day-to-day management of eWater’s software development and hydrological modelling services and contribute to the strategic direction of the eWater Limited Group.




Improving Livelihoods in Northern Cambodia

More than 300,000 people living in Stung Staung river basin in Northern Cambodia rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. Access to a clean water supply is fundamental for wellbeing and health particularly to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Increased food security, higher income for farmers and improved health in the villages can be expected if the reliability and quality of water supplies in the province can be enhanced through improved sharing of existing water supplies.

Partnering with the World Bank and support from the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), eWater undertook a study to assess the challenges of water supply development and to establish an enabling environment, based on scientific evidence, for a water sharing dialogue between authorities, farmers and relevant water users and assist with developing a long-term investment plan for water supply utility for Staung district in Kompong Thom Province.

(AdobeStock, Rice worker planting rice in a rice field, by Michel)

Study Area

The Stung Staung river rises in the mountains of Northern Cambodia before flowing 213 km to the iconic Lake Tonle Sap, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. In its northern reaches, the river flows through forest before entering expansive cropland to the south.  The majority of the 217 villages in the catchment are along the river in the farming districts which cover about a third of the catchment.  More than a quarter of the people in the river basin live in poverty.

Competition between irrigation and village water supplies is increasing as climate change varies the annual rainfall pattern. Barrage ‘Samsep Kagna’ of 7,200 ha is the only large irrigation scheme in the catchment. Other existing schemes include 17 medium schemes and 8 small schemes (Figure 1). Currently, rainfed paddy rice is the main crop in the command areas, but further downstream field and garden crops are more common.

Figure 1: Irrigation schemes and water supply utility in the Stung Staung Catchment.

To help manage the water competition and cope with climate change, a large water reservoir of the Staung Water Resource Development Project with a potential area of 30,000 ha is planned.

Clean water supply in the coverage areas comes from the Stung Staung River, supplemented with groundwater from a 200m deep tube well next to the treatment plant near the river.  A World Bank’s Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project (WaSSIP) aims to increase water supplies to villages by up to four times through a new water supply utility near Barrage ‘Samsep Kagna’.

Development of a Source model to assess demand and supply

Through 2019-2020, funded by the World Bank, eWater, in collaboration with the Institute of Technology Cambodia (ITC) and Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology (MOWRAM), and Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation (MISTI) undertook a comprehensive catchment assessment in the Stung Staung River and developed a Source model to support dialogue on a water sharing plan in the catchment. The outcome of the assessment will support the design of future water supply infrastructure and investment potential of the RGC and the World Bank in Staung district.

Stung Staung River Source Model

Methodology

The data review included demography, geography, water sources, status and trends of water supply and demand, initial potential risks and mitigation measures.  Additional hydrometeorological datasets were collected to help refine the existing country-wide Source model to form the Source Stung Staung Model, the model supports hydrological and water system modelling. The hydrological model was used to undertake a water balance assessment that characterised the natural condition (rainfall-runoff process) in the catchment.  The water system model was run to quantify water demand from various sectors, mainly irrigation activities and municipal water requirements.

Once the hydrological characteristics for the catchment were defined, several future scenarios were formulated and later assessed using well calibrated models of the pre-development and future-development scenarios. This allowed for an assessment of potential hydrological risks. The simulations quantified surface water availability from the natural processes of rainfall-runoff and water resource use by different sectors. Hydrological baseline statistics were developed, which characterised the water supply/demand balance on a monthly, seasonal and annual basis.

Climate change impacts

An analysis of rainfall patterns over the Stung Staung Catchment reveals an observed change in rainfall between the past condition (2000-2011) and the present condition (2012-2019). The pattern of mono-modal with a peak in September has changed to bi-modal with peaks in July and September. A decrease in rainfall in August was clearly observed for all the key stations. Particularly, a big change in rainfall was observed at Stoung in the lower section of the river. Monthly rainfall in the wet season dropped about 100 mm. A significant drop was in September: decreasing from about 400 mm to below 200 mm. The climate change assessments suggest a decrease in all flow ranges from the present condition.

Pathway to resilient water resources

The project allows the Cambodian authorities to consider the developed workflow and application of the Source Modelling Platform for water balance analysis and catchment assessment as a scientific tool to support water allocation mechanisms.

The study recommended, through community discussions, establishing a minimum requirement for water quantity and quality as the priority for domestic water supply. Understanding community priorities will assist the large water storage managers in developing an equitable water sharing plan for domestic and irrigation water.  While there is a potential for expansion of irrigation scale, the irrigation modernisation should be taken into account of water balance to improve the sustainability of the irrigation system, providing benefits to farmers and the downstream biodiversity and aquatic environment in the river. Crop intensification would lead to higher irrigation water demand resulting in water shortage so shifting the crop growing calendar could be considered as a way to ease water shortages in May and June.

With signs of less water available in the future, the villages in the river basin need to discuss their options, such as crop diversification to high value crops, which may generate greater income with less water. The study provides valuable details and guidance for the authorities and villagers in the river basin to mitigate risks and for Development Partners to investigate water resource development option and enhance water resource management benefits in the Stung Staung Basin.

Related information

Read this article by the CAVAC (Cambodia-Australia Agricultural Value Chain Program) for more on the use of water models in Cambodia https://cavackh.org/public/post/using-water-simulation-models-to-support-sustainable-water-resources-management




MUSICX 1.1

The eWater team has been working hard on a number of updates to MUSICX, with a new version out now, highlights include:
– MUSIC-link 
– The ability to add notes to individual nodes
– Additional recorders, including Overflow, Pipe flow, Water Level, Storage, Water Demand and Reuse
– allowing a Monthly Pattern as Data Source for PET




Source 5.12 is now available

Current licence holders can now download the latest version of Source.

Key enhancements in version 5.12 include the addition of Supply Point Distribution Loss, updates to Urban Developer and a range of minor enhancements.


Find out more




Australia gifts eWater Source to Cambodia

In a special ceremony in Phnom Penh, Australia’s Ambassador to Cambodia, His Excellency Pablo Kang formally gifted access to Australia’s national water modelling platform, eWater Source to Cambodia’s Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology (MOWRAM) His Excellency Lim Kean Hor. 

This technical exchange forms part of Australia’s ongoing support for sustainable water management throughout the Mekong region.

eWater Source, Australia’s national hydrological modelling platform will assist the Cambodian Government to better understand the availability of water resources throughout the country. It will provide a stronger evidence base on which to make decisions about the development of water infrastructure and the allocation of water for a range of users – cities and towns, farming and freshwater fisheries, hydropower and industry.

“The sustainable management of Cambodia’s precious water resources is crucial to support the socio-economic development of our cities and of our growing agriculture and energy sectors, while preserving our unique environment” stated His Excellency Lim Kean Hor.

“We welcome the offer by the Government of Australia to provide both technical tools and capacity building support so that Cambodians can learn from the Australian experience and improve our management of water resources for the entire country.”

In response, Ambassador Kang said “We are pleased to share an important Australian innovation – the eWater Source platform –with our neighbours and friends in Cambodia, because doing so will help ensure water governance is based on solid evidence and can contribute to Cambodia’s post-COVID recovery”

eWater has worked with the Mekong River Commission (MRC) its member countries (Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam) for many years. Starting in 2013, eWater developed a Source model of the entire Mekong River and major tributaries, ultimately leading to eWater contributing to the 2018-19 MRC Council Study using Source to integrate information and existing basin models.  

In 2017-19, eWater, in partnership with UNESCAP, Geoscience Australia and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology implemented a pilot in Cambodia using space-based data to help water users in drought prone countries to better understand and manage droughts.  eWater provided updated technology and access to satellite data through the Geoscience Australia Open Data Cube to improve the ESCAP Regional Drought Mechanism.  In 2019 eWater was appointed as an adviser to MOWRAM in Cambodia under a World Bank project.  




A new home for ICE WaRM

In July 2020, ICE WaRM, the International Centre for Excellence in Water Resource Management, entered into a collaboration with eWater Ltd to re-launch its international water education and training program.

The collaboration will build on the established strengths of both organisations. ICE WaRM’s substantial experience in designing and delivering education, training and capacity building programs will be enhanced by eWater’s practical training in water modelling tools and capacity building to connect modelling with policy, regulation and management.

The new program will be strengthened by the range of ICEWaRM education and training programs that draw on South Australia’s’ water technology and expertise.

Arranging international study visits will step up a level through the combined practical experience and detailed knowledge of the Australian water sector of ICEWARM and eWater.

ICEWaRM’s strong commitment to inclusiveness across its programs will complement eWater’s efforts, in gender equity and social inclusion.

Visit the ICEWaRM website




COVID-19:Water is essential for public health

Containing the COVID-19 virus is a global public health challenge.  

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), frequent and thorough hand washing can help reduce your chances of contracting infectious diseases such as COVID-19. 

But it is hard to wash your hands if you don’t have access to clean water – and worldwide 780 million people do not have access to an improved water source.[1]  In 2017, poor sanitation and limited access to hand-washing facilities contributed to around 1.5 million deaths worldwide.  In the least developed countries, 22% of health care facilities have no water service, 21% no sanitation service, and 22% no waste management service.[2]

The pandemic has devastated the lives of poor people across the developing world.  COVID-19 threatens to hit the world’s poorest nations disproportionately, the United Nations has warned, not just as a health crisis but as a social and economic crisis for billions of people in the months and years to come.

The UN Development Program expects income losses to exceed $220 billion in developing countries as economic shutdowns linked to the coronavirus bite, and nearly half of all jobs in Africa could be lost.

Exacerbating the crisis is climate change which primarily impacts the water cycle.  UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterras has noted that 40% of the world’s people are affected by water scarcity and more than 90% of disasters are water-related.

Water scarcity is a global problem that needs collective action. There is no more urgent a time to address the world’s water crisis than now, when people are constantly being reminded to use water to combat the spread of the virus.

Key to addressing water scarcity is improved water management.  We must ensure sustainable and equitable water for all, if we are to stem future crises.  Finding the balance in allocations between agriculture, industry and growing urban centres while protecting the environment is an ongoing activity for governments, and hydrological models remain a vital tool, particularly when it comes to predictions of the future.

eWater was established by Australian Federal and State governments to provide watermodelling tools, technical support and capacity building in Australia and internationally.  eWater works with DFAT, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, the Mekong River Commission, and a range of government water authorities across the Indo-Pacific to help manage water better with a view to providing reliable water supply and sanitation for rural and urban communities to improve health and wellbeing for all.

In restricting the spread of the COVID-19 virus and in adapting to climate change, improved water management is critical and must be given higher priority.

[1] World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation: 2012.

[2] WHO Fact Sheet: Drinking Water June 2019




Introducing MUSIC X

MUSICX is the most significant upgrade to the industry standard MUSIC in a decade.

MUSICX has been re-designed and re-written into modern software coding platform, maintaining all the capability of MUSIC V6.3 but giving users additional functionality and the benefits of modern software architecture.

The real strength of MUSICX is the ability to link your urban water quality models with your eWater Source catchment and river system models and urban demand models (Urban Developer plugin). Allowing the whole water system to be modeled with the one tool providing a platform for exploring possible interactions and new ways of managing water. 

For those who are focused on the urban context alone, MUSICX can be run separate to Source, allowing you to continue to use it the way you always have, with the benefit of modern software architecture. 

Watch the MUSICX launch video to learn more

Transitioning to MUSICX

MUSICX is a major change to the software. We know that some of our community need time to learn the new features and transition to MUSICX. To ease the transition, MUSIC 6.3.0 remains available and eWater will continue to provide support services.  




Source Proficiency & Certification

As part of our eWater Academy, we are enhancing our Source training packages to provide a structured pathway to certification in Source Modelling for Industry, Governments and Development Partners.   From July 2019, we are launching five tiers of training which will lead to certification in the use and customization of Source, Australia’s National Hydrological Modelling System.

  •      Fundamentals in Source Hydrological Modelling
  •      Advanced Topics in Source Hydrological Modelling
  •      Source Catchment and Water Quality Modelling Specialist
  •      Source Modelling to support Water Resources Assessments and Water Sharing Planning
  •     Source Customisation Specialist (for ICT Professionals)

This new tiered structure is a step towards establishing a certification scheme that formally recognises proficiency in using Source. We are partnering with accrediting bodies and leading academic institutes to develop modules that will lead to a formal certificate in Water Resources and Catchment Modelling.   Why are we doing this?   Water managers rely on reliable, repeatable and robust hydrological models. They need to be confident that models are being built and applied to an appropriate standard.   In March 2019, the COAG National Water Reform Committee endorsed continued support for the National Hydrological Modelling Strategy (NHMS) and in June 2019, the signatories to the National Collaboration Framework agreed to continue funding of eWater Source as the National Hydrological Modelling Platform. With Source projected for full adoption by most State Governments and the Murray-Darling River Basin Authority (MDBA) within the next two years, the time is right for Industry to skill up in Source to meet the demand for Source modelling expertise. In response to a call from our Government and Agency Partners, eWater is providing a pathway to skills development, so that competent Source users can demonstrate that they have the knowledge and skills to develop and apply Source models to the standards required.   By completing the suite of training products, Source users will be able to demonstrate they have the right knowledge and skills to do the job.  

What’s changing?
There will be minimal changes to our popular Source Fundamental training courses. We will continue to run a limited number of Fundamentals courses in capital cities and in our new training centre in Canberra Upcoming training   We currently run our advanced or customised training on request from organisations. Under the new approach, we will now offer these programs more regularly, as a structured program of advanced and specialist courses in Source Hydrological Modelling. 

In addition to the current Certificate of Attendance, on completion of
any course, participants will be able to apply for a Certificate of
Proficiency in that aspect of Source modelling. Certification will give
assurance that the hydrologists has the skills and competency to build
reliable models.

Our new training courses are described below.

Introducing the eWater Academy Training Centre

We have recently established the eWater Academy Training Centre in our
Canberra office. This will be the hub for our new training program,
especially the advanced courses. Being in Canberra, also has the
advantage of giving participants greater access to eWater’s Source
modelling expertise and to Canberra’s well-established Source community.