eWater Source Catchments

For managing catchments

eWater Source enables local knowledge, data and models to be combined with industry best practice to generate effective, transparent catchment management scenarios and options.

For sales, support and Source training enquiries phone 1300-5-WATER or email us.

Download flyer

Get Source       Download free trial


ACT catchmentSource is a water quality and quantity modelling framework that supports decision making and a whole-of-catchment modelling approach. Output from the model allows catchment (watershed) managers and their stakeholder communities to develop targets, prioritise programs and measure the effectiveness of a broad range of activities.

The software provides a framework for modelling the amounts of waterand contaminants flowing though a catchment and into major rivers, wetlands, lakes, or estuaries. Source integrates an array of models, data and knowledge that can be used to simulate how climate and catchment variables (rainfall, evaporation, land use, vegetation) affect runoff, sediment and contaminants. The output can be used to offer clear scenarios and options for making improvements in a catchment.

Source allows users to answer a range of management questions, such as where to place on-ground works to maximise water quality. It can predict the flow and constituent loads at any location in any catchment over time. Scenarios can include actual or planned changes in land use, land management, climate variability and climate change. For example, Source can be used to understand issues such as:

  • quantity and quality of rainfall-driven runoff and groundwater reaching streams in the catchment under present conditions

  • alterations made to quantity and quality of runoff by climate variability, different land uses, or riverbank restoration – now, or in the future

  • optimal locations for on-ground work to maximise water quality improvement

  • impacts of bushfire, flood, drought, construction activity or water extractions on the quality of receiving waters

  • the effect of land use change on water quality and quantity into receiving waters.


  • Build tailored models for considering a range of catchment scenarios.

  • Explore the volumes and quality of rainfall-driven runoff and groundwater.

  • Predict the impact of climate change, land use or management changes on the volume and quality of runoff entering streams.

  • Optimise investment and direct management action to improve water quality.

  • Explore the volumes and quality of rainfall-driven runoff and groundwaterplug in your existing models such as rainfall run-off or water quality models.

  • Understand the impact of bushfire, flood or drought on receiving waters.

  • Consider the impact of land use change on water quality and quantity, extend the model as needs change.

  • Plug in your existing models such as rainfall run-off or water quality models.

How Source works for catchments

Source is highly flexible and is able to create an overall integrated model that is tailored to the problem. Constructing a model for a particular catchment management situation involves selecting appropriate component models and linking them in the software.

The model is based on the following building blocks:

  • Sub-catchments: The sub-catchment is the basic spatial unit, which is then divided into hydrological response units (or functional units) based on a common response or behaviour such as land use. Within each functional unit, three models can be assigned: a rainfall-runoff model, a constituent generation model and a filter model.

  • Nodes: Nodes represent sub-catchment outlet, stream confluences or other places of interest such as stream gauges or dam walls. Nodes are connected by links, forming a representation of the stream network.

  • Links: Links represent the river reaches. Within each link, a selection of models can be applied to: 
    route or delay the movement of water along the link
    - modify the contaminant loads due to processes occurring within the links, such as decay of a particular constituent over time.

Source features a wide range of data pre-processing and analysis functions that allows users to create and compare multiple scenarios, assess the consequences, and report on the findings.

The contribution of a particular constituent on areas of the catchment can be viewed, and various visualisation methods used to show uncertainty including bar charts, line graphs, tables and maps such as rasters or polygons.

Case studies

eWater researchers are working with partners as they refine the tools and user interface on the basis of real world simulations. This process enhances local understanding of the capability of eWater tools in the operating environment. Click on the button below to view some of the case studies available.

Case studies


For support enquiries phone 1300-5-WATER or email [email protected]

Standard support, which is free, is provided to you once you sign up and download Source for Catchments. Premium support is charged and provides direct access to the eWater telephone support desk. Support offering details are provided below. 

Click on the button below to view Systems Requirements for Source for Catchments.

System Requirements

Data required

Full details of input data for Source for Catchments is available on pages 16-21 of the Source for Catchments User Guide (available with product download). File formats accepted by Source for Catchments are listed in Chapter 11 of the Source for Catchments User Guide.

To construct a basic model in Source for Catchments you will require the following:

  • A Hydrologically correct Digital Elevation Model (DEM) or Sub-catchment Map as an  ASCII grid file (*.asc). This is required to define the sub-catchment boundaries and node-link network. It is recommended that users unfamiliar with DEMs use a sub-catchment map to get started. In Australia this data is often available from   State Government Natural Resources Agency, CMA's or  local government.

  • List of functional unit types (eg landuse) you want to represent in the model.

  • Functional unit map (often a landuse map) as an  ASCII grid file (*.asc) or the area each functional unit occupies in each sub-catchment. In Australia this data is often available from your  state government Natural Resources Agency, CMA's or  local government.

  • Climate data, that is rainfall and potential evapotranspiration (PET) data. Most commonly accessed in Australia through DERM Qld SILO website or Bureau of Meteorology.

  • Constituent generation information may be as simple as export rates or detailed correlation between flow and constituents  (eg  Sediment and Nutrient data ) Commonly sourced from literature, Research organisations and State Government Agencies.

NOTE: If you are only interested in the relative contribution at a broad scale you may not need climate data just aerial loading rates for each functional unit type.

Please note that this guidance applies to Australia and other countries may differ.

Please see the Source for Catchments Scientific Reference Guide (available with product download) for further details on input data for each component model.