For managing rivers

Key features


One of the unique aspects of Source is the ability to manage and share water between different water users. It will be able to assign, store, track, manage and reassign ownership of water as it moves through the river system. For example, to model different state’s or nation’s shares of water or the possibility of shepherding environmental water. The Ownership functionality allows for the specification of inflow shares and losses. Ownership in storages allows for definition of shares in capacity, dead storage, spills and outlet capacity, as well as transfer of ownership within the storage, according to internal spilling and ceding rules. A Transfer of Ownership node is also available to change ownership of flow.

Source provides a management layer that interacts with storages, links and water users to allocate shares of regulated and unregulated water supplies.

Source will provide the following accounting functionality:

  • Different levels of security;
  • Annual accounting where stored resources and losses are socialised and allocated on an annual basis;
  • Annual accounting with carry over where an amount of water can be carried over to successive water years;
  • Continuous accounting where there are individual shares in storages and losses are socialised;
  • Continuous sharing where there are individual shares in storages and losses are reconciled against users; and
  • Unregulated flow sharing where events in the system are shared amongst water users.

The management of water in the system is controlled by a range of nodes such as:

  • Minimum flow node that orders water to meet in-stream targets;
  • Maximum flow node that constrains regulated orders to ensure maintenance of maximum flow targets;
  • Customisable rules via the expression editor; and
  • Water users.

Water users control the ordering of water and the allocation to different licences. Water users can extract from multiple sources including groundwater. They have an optional inbuilt storage and can select from a range of demand models that include patterns, time series, crops and environmental demands. They can also return water from the inbuilt storage and demand models to the river system.

Physical model

Constructing the river network

Source utilises a selection of nodes and links to represent how water moves through, and is managed in the river system. Nodes and links provide the 'building blocks' for re-creating the river system. Nodes represent locations along the river where flow and water quality constituents enter or are stored, extracted, lost or measured. Links are used to model the movement of water between nodes.

Overlying the physical network is a water management rules ‘engine’ that provides Source with an additional layer of management complexity. This ‘engine’ allows for complex management rules to be modelled at a system-wide scale to support water sharing arrangements between states, water ownership in the system, water accounting, and ordering to meet demand.

Physical nodes represent the hydrology of the system and include the:

  • Inflow node to define flows into the model such as from rainfall, runoff, tributaries and water
  • Confluence node to represent  the joining of two tributaries
  • Gauge node for entering recorded flow and water level details
  • Loss node to represent water removal from the model, including evaporation and seepage or even error associated with flow-measurement uncertainty.

Management nodes are used to regulate the river. They allow water to be owned, ordered, accounted for, tracked and extracted by users. They include:

  • Water User node to represent demand in the system. This includes environmental needs, such as a wetland, and irrigation demand.
  • Transfer Ownership node to change ownership of flows.
  • Minimum Flow Constraint and Maximum Flow Constraint for managing river flow in order to meet demand requirements and consider channel capacity limitations.

Links are used to connect nodes in order to simulate the movement of water. When configured with routing they represent flow within river reaches.

Configuring parameter values and uploading data files for each node or link

Hydrological attributes for a gauge node can be configured by uploading time series files of observed flow and rating table information.

Physical attributes can be configured for storages by entering details on storage characteristics such as dimensions (see circled tab), outlets for releasing water, and  evaporative losses.

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Management engine

Manage rules and relationships using the Expression Editor tool which allows you to control component behaviour via arithmetic expression. In particular, a component’s parameter and input values can be dynamically dependent on other values in the model, as when setting a minimum river flow based on water levels in a number of storages. The expression editor has five components: Variables; Piecewise linear relations; Patterns; Time series data sets; and Global expressions.

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Configure ordering using either rules based or linear programming techniques to find optimal solutions for modelling situations where there are multiple supplies for ordered water.

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Define how water is shared with the flexibility to select from a range of resource assessment systems. In the real world, each river valley may have its own water sharing plan, so to reflect this, any given scenario in Source can be associated with one or more resource assessment systems.

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Model water ownership through the entire system by configuring ownership at nodes to assign and track each owner’s volume of water as it moves through the system. Enabling the ownership function when running a scenario allows you to query the model as to how much water a particular owner has in the system and where that water is located. Nodes with an ownership component include storage, demand and inflow, which all have different characteristics and manage ownership in specific ways. This functionality also enables water to be transferred between owners, and for separate resource allocation systems to be developed for the modelling of capacity sharing in river systems.

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Exploring results

Run a scenario, record and compare results using the flexible reporting and graphics tools which have a range of viewing options and capability for Excel. Viewing options include tabular, graphical, and statistical. 

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Source follows the user interface conventions of a standard Microsoft Windows™ application. For example:

  • The main window can be maximised or minimised using the normal controls at the right hand end of the title bar.
  • A menu bar with familiar File, Window and Help menus, with additional menus directing users to more specific functions of Source.
  • Toolbars providing point-and-click access to many of the same menu commands.

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