Water monitoring

Under the Water Act, water resource investigations are undertaken to enable effective planning for water resource development and environmental protection.

A continuous program for the assessment of water resources of the Northern Territory (NT) is carried out, including the investigation collection, collation and analysis of data concerning the occurrence, volume, flow, characteristics, quality, flood potential and use of water resources,

In the NT water resources are monitored by three different entities, which are:

  • Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security measure and determine the state of the natural resource.
  • Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade administer monitoring undertaken by mining companies in compliance with mine management plans.
  • Power and Water Corporation measure and determine water for public water supply.

DEPWS water monitoring  underpins all aspects of water resource assessment and management, from water allocation planning and environmental flow monitoring to flood risk assessment and flood response activities. Managing a network of over 150 surface water sites and 400 groundwater sites, the Water Resource Division routinely collect a range of data including rainfall, river level, river flow, groundwater levels and water quality.

Key monitoring programs include:

  • Ongoing monitoring of all Water Allocation Plan areas to track groundwater level and stream flow against modelled predictions used for annual water allocations.
  • Management of flood warning infrastructure along key waterways as part of the Northern Territory Flood Warning System. Ongoing flow measurements of flood discharges are required to ensure the accuracy of flood warning systems in our highly dynamic riverine environment.
  • Flood level monitoring and alerting for key transport infrastructure including highways and railway.
  • Water quality monitoring for Ord River Stage 2.
  • Monitoring for future water supplies, to provide data for assessment, design and viability studies for future water supply infrastructure.
  • Monitoring for assessment of small and large scale water extraction projects outside of Water Allocation Plan areas.
  • Collection of bathymetric data in collaboration with Charles Darwin University for environmental flow studies funded through the National Environmental Science Programme.
  • Groundwater monitoring programs to support Geoscience Australia’s ‘Exploring the Future’ program using aerial geophysics instrumentation to locate groundwater resources.
  • Groundwater monitoring program for Managed Aquifer Recharge trial near Katherine.
  • Collection of surface and groundwater data for assessment of water resources within the CSIRO led Northern Australian Water Resource Assessment and the Departments own Land and Water Suitability Studies.
  • Monitoring of water quality parameters in permanent waterholes in the arid zone as part of the Lake Eyre Basin Rivers Assessment (LEBRA) program.
  • Water quality monitoring and ecological health assessments for Darwin Harbour and selected river catchments of the Northern Territory to ensure good ecological condition of our waterways.
  • Groundwater quality monitoring for water allocation plans (Darwin region, Katherine region, Douglas -Daly region and Roper River).
  • Roper River fish movement study in collaboration with the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods at Charles Darwin University, NT Fisheries and the Northern Land Council managed Yugul Mangi Rangers.
  • Water meta data (data about data) is collected when a monitoring site is initially setup, and updated over time as conditions at a monitoring site change.

Review publications and reports

Last updated: 25 October 2021

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