Daly River water modelling

Published

On 23rd May 2016, ABC news ran the story, ‘Audit picks up mistakes in Daly River water modelling’. This article related to the recent decision to grant five additional groundwater licences in the Katherine – Daly River region.

The news article included a number of factual errors. I have written to the ABC and requested that these factual errors are corrected.

Importantly, internal quality assurance checks undertaken by water resources staff as part of the licence assessment process did not find a mistake in Daly River flow modelling, nor did it find that there was less water flowing in the Daly River than there should have been.  It found that the modelled flows were higher than the measured flows and an alternative licence reliability assessment approach was employed as a result.

I asked Water Resources to seek an independent review of the approach used to estimate licence reliability in early 2016 to provide assurance it was correct and in line with the agreed environmental water requirements for the Daly River. 

The review was conducted by the Goyder Institute for Water Research and concluded that the modelling package, and the input and output data used in the assessment of licence reliabilities were suitable and satisfactory for the purpose of assessing the water extraction licences.  No errors were identified in the reliability calculations for the new licence applications. 

My decision to grant the licences was only made after the outcome of the review.  A link to the review report conducted by the Goyder Institute can be found here.

The water assessment and modelling tools that the Department uses for decision making are subject to on-going review and improvement to ensure that they capture new information and data collected by DLRM or through research projects conducted by others.  The Department is committed to informing the public about any significant changes that influence decisions that are taken by the Controller of Water Resources or which may alter the decisions of our stakeholders.

A renewed drive for community consultation for water planning in the Territory’s water resource systems is underway and will reinvigorate the conversations that the Department can have with Territorian’s about water management in their region.

Reports

  • Presentation of the Review of the assessment of reliabilities for licences in the Tindall Limestone and Oolloo Dolostone Aquifers based on potential impacts on Daly River streamflows - Download PDF (1.8 MB)
  • Review of the assessment of reliabilities for licences in the Tindall Limestone and Oolloo Dolostone Aquifers based on potential impacts on Daly River streamflows - Download PDF (997.0 KB)

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