MUSIC – Model for Urban Stormwater Improvement Conceptualisation – was first developed in 2001.
Research by Dr Tony Wong and colleagues at Monash University and eWater’s forerunner organisation, the CRC for Catchment Hydrology identified that urban water professionals needed a decision support system to evaluate treatment measures and strategies if urban stormwater quality was to be improved.
Fundamental to this was research that showed that treatment of nearly all urban stormwater systems could be simulated using one model, the ‘universal stormwater treatment model’. This breakthrough, combined with a detailed understanding of the hydrology and pollutants of urban areas, gave Dr Wong’s team the building blocks for MUSIC.
The MUSIC development team focused on having a tool that, though easy to use, was underlain by high-quality science. Dr Wong recognised that the science of estimating water quality had tended to become event-based and deterministic, whereas the quality of urban stormwater really depends on the statistical outcome of many rainfall events interacting with a handful of physical and chemical processes. If this ‘actuarial approach’ could be captured with an appropriate algorithm, calculations would be much simplified.
The hydrology inside MUSIC, developed by Francis Chiew and colleagues in the CRC for Catchment Hydrology, is based on defining an impervious area and the properties of related pervious areas. Once this is done, the runoff from an area can be estimated. More and more, confident estimates of hydrology are becoming as important as estimating water quality. In fact, changes in urban hydrology can have major impacts on the health of creeks and streams, as work by Associate Professor Tim Fletcher (a member of the MUSIC development team) and colleagues at Monash University has shown.