Turning Reality Farm into Catchment Models

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Computer models of sediment movement, farm dams and groundwater processes are finding application via the catchment management model Source Catchments (previously known as ‘WaterCAST’.)

Understanding of natural-resource processes in catchments is commonly captured in algorithms and individual models that may or may not find practical use in real-world situations. But when such models are integrated into a broadscale catchment model, they can soon prove their worth.

Three new models, now being tested for their performance in a catchment context, assess effects of groundcover on erosion and water quality and of farm dams and groundwater flows on streamflow.

The models are being trialled in eWater’s Source Catchments — a broadscale integrating model designed to help manage the generation and transport of runoff and its constituents in unregulated upland catchments. It uses existing algorithms and models of particular processes, and applies them to subunits of topography, climate and land use to produce an integrated prediction of streamflow for a whole catchment.