Catchment challenge: managers have to balance priorities

Wednesday 27 October 2010

The Catchment Challenge highlighted the need for models that are robust, scientifically valid and can justify decisions to policy makers and the community.

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Catchment Challenge diagramManagers in the water industry have to balance complex competing priorities. And the juggling act could be made easier with good quality modelling software according to an eWater workshop at Riversymposium 2010 in Perth.

“The workshop told us that managers are finding it increasingly difficult to juggle priorities” said Professor Gary Jones, CEO eWater. “Most felt the need to be able to turn to good quality models and use them to run different scenarios and justify decision making.”

Launching eWater’s latest product Source Catchments Professor Jones explained how it had been road tested with several industry partners. This included the Queensland Government using it across 35 Great Barrier Reef catchments to assess progress towards meeting reef plan targets.

The workshop highlighted the need for models that are robust, scientifically valid and that can show clearly the impact of different scenarios and justify decisions to policy makers and the community.

Catchment Challenge session“We are very pleased to be putting in the hands of the water industry a capability to tackle complex issues in catchment management and find solutions,” Professor Jones said. “Source Catchments can support the work of natural resource agencies throughout the country by providing answers based on a track record of scientific research.”

The workshop considered an imaginary scenario to test the impact of a doubling of urban population on different stakeholders. It was introduced using eWater Concept which uses graphics to show highlight stakeholder interactions.  Designed as an alternative to using white boards with stakeholder groups Concept is available on the eWater Toolkit website.

Feedback on what makes a successful model came from those at the eWater workshop at Riversymposium.  Key requirements including robust and defensible science, the ability to run different scenarios and ease of use. All of these features have been built into Source Catchments.

A fully functional 12 month free trial of Source Catchments is available for download from the eWater website.

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