We acknowledge and thank all partners to the CRC for Catchment Hydrology, CRC for Freshwater Ecology and eWater CRC, and individuals who have contributed to the research and development of this book. Evolving water management: 20 years of CRC achievement (eWater Cooperative Research Centre 2012) ISBN 978-1-921543-72-2 ÂŠ 2012 eWater Ltd UC Innovation Centre University Drive South Bruce, ACT, 2617, Australia T: +61 2 6201 5168 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.ewater.com.au Photo by Andrew Sikorski Editors Sue Bushell, Ann Milligan, Jo Webb Art Director Shannon Li Design, typesetting & print management Giraffe Visual Communication Management Pty Ltd Printed by BlueStar Group Printed on Australian made, 100% FSC Recycled Certified, Processed Chlorine Free paper (ISO 14001 Environmental Certification).
Standing tall When the journey of the research and industry partnership which ultimately became eWater CRC began two decades ago, Australia was in critical need of fresh approaches to researching and managing water. The two CRCs which ultimately merged to become eWater got underway with very different destinations in mind. The CRC for Freshwater Ecology was forged to address the clear market failure around how the science relating to freshwater ecology was being applied â€“ a massive and challenging mission. Attending, as a funder, the initial interviews around creation of CRCFE, I made the point that the CRC would need to run for at least three terms before there would be sufficient confidence to rebalance the way we managed our rivers. Tasked with addressing the ecological basis for the sustainable management of Australian waters, CRCFE achieved amazing gains in transforming the research culture, instilling water managers with confidence in the science and injecting hard science into policy making. Catchment Hydrology had a very different mission: tasked with expanding on a very strong knowledge base that underpinned engineering design in Australia. Its historic mission was no less than to deliver to resource managers the capability to assess the hydrologic impacts of land-use and water management decisions at whole of catchment scale. The mission recognised that the management issues to be tackled by this predictive capability were national ones, involving the direct expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars each year. The achievements of both, of course, are major and a matter of public record. Even so, eight years ago the decision to merge the two CRCs into eWater was both visionary and courageous. We can all be glad that those involved were prepared to take those risks, and be proud of the achievements over the 20 year journey.
We now have community acceptance that freshwater ecology and the health of our rivers are important goals. Together we have built one of the worldâ€™s great modelling platforms, which will stand Australia in good stead for the next set of water management challenges it faces. Please accept my warm congratulations for both your individual and collective efforts. It has been very well done. You should stand tall. Don Blackmore Chair, eWater CRC
Collaborating for success The research and industry partnership we know today as the eWater Cooperative Research Centre opened its doors in 1992, under the banner of the CRC for Catchment Hydrology. The CRC for Freshwater Ecology set up operations a year later. Thirteen years on, in 2005, we merged those two CRCs to form a single, integrated water science and management CRC – eWater.
There are many important achievements of the CRCCHCRCFE-eWater pedigree that extend across important new research findings, new hydrological and ecological models, influential reports to government and industry, and influence by our work and by our people on government policy and management, not least of which in the area of environmental water management.
It was the research and industry teams from the two former CRCs that came together in eWater to blend the best hydrological and ecological knowledge that had arisen inside and outside the CRC’s, and to integrate this into a new national eco-hydrological modelling system – a system that would support implementation of the National Water Initiative and be built not only on the strongest scientific and engineering foundations but on the highest professional software quality and useability standards.
On the people side of our business, we brought together researchers, industry technical specialists and government water managers to work in collaborative multi-organisation, multidisciplinary teams focusing on real world water science and management problems. These were people and groups that had not consistently worked together prior to the CRCs starting. It is these networks, relationships and friendships that have been built over the past 20 years that will provide an enduring foundation for eWater’s future success.
Finally, it was our task to support the adoption of this new national eco-hydrological modelling platform by our industry partners and to ensure it is maintained and supported for the next twenty years or more – certainly well beyond the life of the CRC.
We have also helped train a new generation of postgraduate students who are knowledgeable of real world water management and well prepared for professional employment within that industry.
Now, 20 years after our foundation and three rounds of CRC Program and partner funding later, we have entered the final phase of our CRC life, preparing for the future as an independent self-sustaining organisation. I hope that all readers will enjoy the reflections on the CRC’s history and on the people—some great, all good—who contributed to our success.
As eWater readies itself to evolve into a not-for-profit, independent, member-based water modelling organisation, we are eager to celebrate this achievement and to acknowledge the manifold contributions of our numerous partners and their staff and students. I hope you enjoy reading about them and their achievements inside this CRC history.
Names like Cullen, Mien, Hart, O’Loughlin, Lake, McMahon, Bunn, Vertessy, Hillman, Lawrence, Grayson and Gawne, to name only a handful of key contributors. All major figures in the Australian water science community, with none moreso than the late Peter Cullen, founding CEO of the CRC for Freshwater Ecology and without doubt the country’s most influential water scientist over the past 25 years.
Gary Jones Chief Executive, eWater CRC (and former CEO CRCFE)
Timeline eWater’s modelling products build on a heritage which goes back more than 20 years. They incorporate the science and expertise developed by the CRC for Catchment Hydrology (CRCCH) and the CRC for Freshwater Ecology (CRCFE). All three organisations have benefited from strong collaboration across the industry and states.
CRCCH formed The CRC for Catchment Hydrology forms in July with the central goal of producing a decision support system able to predict the movement of water, particulates, and solutes from land to rivers. Catchword newsletter established CRCCH’s monthly newsletter Catchword was established and regularly produced throughout the life of the CRC. By 2005 it had a readership of 1430 people. From June 1999, Catchword was available on the CRCCH website.
CRCFE opens its doors
Aquatic Ecology lab opens
National and regional workshops
The Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology (CRCFE) begins operations on 1 July 1993.
The University of Canberra Aquatic Ecology lab, built to house the Canberra part of the CRCFE, is opened by former Minister for Science, Senator Chris Schacht, on 23 March 1994.
CRCCH holds first Future Issues workshop in October – participants present their top five issues related to catchment hydrology. CRCFE runs five conferences and workshops, including the National River Health Program workshop and a Regional Catchment Management workshop.
Flood Hydrology program established CRCCH establishes Flood Hydrology Program to eliminate critical gaps in flood hydrology theory and practice.
Water Reform Framework established The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) adopts a Water Reform Framework for efficient and sustainable water use.
Olympic water quality CRCFE helped develop a stormwater strategy for the site of the 2000 Olympics.
CRCFE first AGM CRCFE holds first full meeting of CRC staff (AGM), at Jenolan Caves, NSW, attended by 90 staff and students; and the first CRC-Rotary Easter School at Albury. Murray-Darling Cap Murray-Darling Basin Cap introduced to limit water use in the basin.
CRCs Water Forum formed
Mildura Lab/Albury extension open
ANZECC work begins
CRCFE and CRCCH become two of the five CRCs that forms the CRCs’ Water Forum. CRCFE begins involvement with the Lake Eyre Basin Steering Group.
CRCFE establishes the Mildura lab to boost research on lowland rivers, with Ben Gawne as its leader. Prime Minister Paul Keating opens the extensions to the MDFRC at Albury.
CRCFE assists in development of innovative, risk-based national guidelines for nutrients and sediments (ANZECC) to help managers in assessing river health and identifying rehabilitation measures.
Competition policy agreements The 1994 Water Reform Framework augmented the National Competition Policy Water Reform program.
Watershed magazine launched The first issue of Watershed, CRCFE’s magazine, was distributed to partners, the water industry and politicians. There were between 2 and 5 issues per year, ending in 2005, with a readership of 3000 people. From March 1998 onwards, Watershed was also available online.
AUSRIVAS launched Environment Minister Senator Robert Hill launches AUSRIVAS, the First National Assessment of River Health, and Peter Cullen launches the Colour Guide to Invertebrates of Australian Inland Waters by John Hawking and Felicity Smith.
CRCCH and CRCFE new bids CRCCH succeeds in its bid in the 1998 Application Round. In September CRCFE submits its bid for a further seven years’ funding. NSW Rivers Survey report published The report of the NSW Rivers Survey Fish and Rivers in Stress published. The report convinces NSW Government to proceed with water reforms. The Young Water Scientist of the Year Award CRCCH postgraduate Helen Locher wins the inaugural CRCs Water Forum ‘Young Water Scientist of the Year’ award.
MDBC review The ‘Transfer and Adoption Scoping Study – Final Report’ review of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission (MDBC) details a range of recommendations, as well as current best practice in transfer and adoption. CRCFE fifth year review and rebid CRCFE undergoes stage 1 of its Fifth Year Review at Albury in August, and stage II at UC. Submission for a further seven years funding is delivered to the CRC Secretariat on September 29, 1998.
International River Health Conference CRCFE hosts the International River Health Conference. Urban water management guidelines
CRCFE Mk II second year review
CRCFE develops guidelines as a part of the Urban Water Management Program to enable informed choices for managing urban waterways.
CRCFE completes first stage of its second year review with an outstanding report. Preparation begins for the second stage review to take place in September 2001.
AUSRIVAS AusRivAS web site and predictive models are launched and training courses are run for the ACT Government, ACTEW, Department of Land and Water Conservation and private consultants.
Salinity Disposal Basin Report series published A series of 15 reports published online covering key issues in the use of salt disposal basins in the Riverine Plain of the Murray Basin.
National Salinity Action Plan announcement The Prime Minister announces the “National Action Plan on Salinity and Water Quality” with a budget of $1.4 billion. CRCFE heavily involved with the development of this Plan. Software development AQUACYCLE, a daily urban water balance model, launched.
Living on Floodplains released
CRCFE establishes a Lower Basin Advisory Committee, chaired by Mr Henry Tankard, to provide community links with the Mildura laboratory.
CRCFE releases Living on Floodplains, a book commissioned to integrate the floodplain and wetland research underway in the CRCFE, and distributes it to more than 1500 stakeholders.
Significant reports CRCCH produces its first Industry Report, designed to help provide agencies and consultants in the Australian land and water industry with improved ways of managing catchments. CRCFE’s Fish and Rivers in Stress report is published and immediately sold out.
Algal sampling protocol CRCFE develops a protocol for algal sampling for Australian rivers for the Monitoring River Health Initiative.
Professor Peter Cullen awarded the Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year Award for his outstanding contribution to the management of Australia’s water resources. Ian Lawrence awarded the Banksia Environmental Foundation Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement, for his contribution to improving our urban landscapes.
Lower Basin Advisory Committee established
CRCFE mark 2 begins New CRCFE begins 1 July 1999 with five new partners, new research programs, a new regional lab starting up at Goondiwindi led by Glenn Wilson and a new initiative in Program Advisory Committees. New parties join With a new bid in 1999, the Queensland contingent of Brisbane City Council, Griffith University, and Dept of Natural Resources (now Natural Resources and Mines) expands CRCCH parties to fourteen.
Eco outcomes evaluated
World Bank seeks CRCFE assistance
CRCCH second year review
CRCFE evaluates the ecological outcomes of the COAG water reform agenda and the Murray-Darling Basin Cap on diversions, and contributes to the WAMP process in Queensland, the Sustainable Rivers Audit for the MDBC and the Indicators for the Catchment Audit for SCA.
CRCFE asked to assist the World Bank with knowledge about environmental flows below major new dams, after Peter Cullen meets in Washington with Bank staff and consultants.
Second year review conducted in two stages: a scientific and technical review of the Centre conducted in July 2001 at Melbourne, and a strategic directions and management assessment in November.
The Young Water Scientist of the Year Award CRCCH postgraduate Fiona Dyer wins the CRCs Water Forum ‘Young Water Scientist of the Year’ award.
CRCCH research site wins development award Stage 13 of the Lynbrook Residential Estate awarded a President’s Award in the Victorian Urban Development Institute of Australia’s 2000 Excellence Awards. Software development CRCCH’s Urban Stormwater Quality Decision Support System beta released to partners.
Sustainable Rivers Audit CRCFE develops a framework to provide for a comprehensive annual review of the condition of the Basin’s waterways – the Sustainable Rivers Audit – for the Murray-Darling Basin Commission.
The Young Water Scientist of the Year Award
Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer
CRCCH postgraduate Rebecca Bartley wins the CRCs Water Forum ‘Young Water Scientist of the Year’ award.
CRCCH wins an Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer at the CRC Association Conference in Perth recognising application of the Urban Stormwater Program research on Water Sensitive Urban Design led by Tony Wong.
National Assessment of River Condition CRCFE provides first National Assessment of River Condition, through the NLWRA, as a basis for large scale decision making about improving river condition across Australia. CRCFE Mk II Second Year Review complete Second year review earns CRCFE a very favourable report, describing the CRCFE’s research performance to Year 2 as impressive.
Dryland River Refugia Project CRCFE begins the Dryland River Refugia project, focusing on Cooper Creek, the Warrego River and the Border Rivers, to understand the ecological importance of waterholes in dryland river catchments.
Waterway Condition Report
Expert Reference Panel for the Murray
CRCFE work on assessing river health leads to the waterways condition report of the National Land and Water Resources Audit and provides the Snapshot of the Murray-Darling Basin River Condition.
CRCFE (Gary Jones) led an Expert Reference Panel assessment of environmental flows and water quality for the River Murray.
Software development Model for Urban Stormwater Improvement Conceptualisation (music) launched; major technical development of The Invisible Modelling Environment (TIME), enabling rapid and effective development and integration of models within the Catchment Modelling Toolkit.
MLLE pilot successfully completed The pilot study assessing MLLE (Multiple Lines and Levels of Evidence) successfully completed and approach adopted as part of the CRCFE Flows Monitoring Forum study design. MLLE eventually becomes Eco Evidence.
CRCCH postgraduate wins 2002 International Conference Travel Grant Award
Catchment Modelling School
The grant provides the CRCCH and postgraduate Dana Thomsen with international exposure, showcasing the high quality research work being conducted through capacity building, education and training programs.
CRCCH Catchment Modelling School in February 2004 offers 29 separate workshops attended by over 300 people. More than 500 workshop seats are allocated.
Sustainable rivers audit begins
Catchment Modelling Toolkit goes live
The Murray-Darling Basin Commission begins Basin-wide Sustainable Rivers Audit, as a result of conceptual frameworks developed by the CRCFE, and a subsequent pilot study.
The Catchment Modelling Toolkit offering seven products to more than 1500 registered users. The uptake of modelling tools continues to increase, and support is expanding rapidly.
AUSRIVAS online training
eWater CRC 2004 selection round successful
CRCFE begins its twice-yearly delivery of the AUSRIVAS online training course in selfpaced modules. The Young Water Scientist of the Year Award CRCCH postgraduate Sara Lloyd wins the CRCs Water Forum ‘Young Water Scientist of the Year’ award.
Scientific Reference Panel assessment
CSIRO Decision Support Collaboration
Norris represents Australia
CRCFE embarks on a project to examine the effects of changing flow regimes and wetting and drying cycles on the Narran Lakes, a large terminal wetland system and Ramsar site in northern NSW, funded by the MDBC.
CRCFE conducts a Scientific Reference Panel assessment of three theoretical environmental flows for the River Murray, following the impact of the Expert Reference Panel assessment.
CRCFE collaborates with CSIRO Land & Water to begin further development of the CSIRO Environmental Flows Decision Support System, for use by the MDBC in their River Murray Environmental Flows Project.
Richard Norris represents Australia at a United Nations Expert meeting on Indicators of Biological Diversity including indicators for Rapid Assessment of Inland Water Ecosystems, Montreal, Canada.
New research portfolio
eWater bid The Boards of CRCCH and CRCFE endorse a recommendation to jointly develop a bid for a new CRC to be called eWater CRC.
eWater CRC officially launched on World Water Day, 22 March 2006 by Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister with responsibility for water.
Consultation and discussions with partners begins on the establishment process for the CRC’s commercialisation company, eWater Innovation (eWI).
AWR 2005 eWater and Sinclair Knight Merz win an external contract with the National Water Commission to develop the Australian Water Resources 2005 (previously known as the Baseline Assessment of Australia’s water resources).
Narran Lakes project begins
CRCCH selects five focus catchments: the rivers Yarra, Goulburn-Broken, Murrumbidgee, Brisbane and Fitzroy.
eWI Consultation begins
Water Allocation and training COAG introduces water trading reforms to optimise the use of water entitlements. CRCCH responds by pursuing research into sustainable water allocation. NISORS CRCFE runs the 9th International Conference on River Research and Applications in Albury.
music endorsed in Victoria In mid-2006, music is recommended in Victorian planning provisions for sustainable neighbourhoods as a preferred tool to achieve urban run-off management objectives in Water Sensitive Urban Design.
$400 million CRC grants announced that includes $40.25 million for eWater CRC to build on the success of the existing Catchment Hydrology and Freshwater Ecology CRCs.
eWater CRC launched
CRCCH research into Water Sensitive Urban Design applied at the Urban and Regional Land Corporation’s Lynbrook Estate at Lyndhurst, south-east Melbourne. The principles become council requirement for Brisbane’s new residential developments.
CRCCH commences work on a new research portfolio, comprising 15 linked research projects, five development projects and two support projects. Global Review 2003-2004 Two-part independent global review of CRCCH undertaken, using expert panel of invited science specialists.
CRC in summary Since its inception, CRCCH has trained almost 100 postgraduates, and CRCFE has trained over 120 PhD students and over 40 Masters students. Both CRCs have published hundreds of research papers, conference papers and technical and industry reports. By June there have been 17,000 downloads of software and data products from CRCCH’s work. eWater CRC established eWater formed with a mission to develop a new generation integrated water resources modelling system that can be used by all governments and sectors.
Knowledge Exchange publications CRCFE’s Knowledge Exchange team publishes several guidelines including Recent lessons in river rehabilitation in eastern Australia, Environmental Flows Monitoring and Assessment Framework, and Assessing and monitoring aquatic biodiversity: what have we learnt?. CRCFE transitional arrangements completed CRCFE formally concludes all research projects on 30 June 2005 ready for transition to eWater CRC.
Extension of additional Commonwealth funding River Manager acceleration funding and the Raising National Water Standards funding both extended for additional year. Funding acceleration announced
Launch of commercial arm
Accelerated development of River Manager software made possible by an additional $6 million of funding from the Commonwealth Government.
eWater Innovation Pty Ltd (eWI) commences full operation in April 2009 to focus on the release of the upgraded urban stormwater software music v4 in October 2009.
H2O Thinking magazine launched The first issue of H2O Thinking, eWater CRC’s water management magazine, is published in print and available online. To date it has a readership of 1200 people.
Improved understanding of groundwater and surface water interactions Improvements to the representation of groundwater and surface water interactions made possible by additional funding provided by the National Water Commission (NWC).
Asian Development bank Chair Don Blackmore gives presentations to the ADB in SE Asia, highlighting the case for integrated water modelling across national boundaries. Research awarded Science team led by Professor Jon Olley at Griffith University, which included a number of eWater researchers and software developers, won the SEQ Healthy Waterways ‘WaterSecureResearch Award’ for its work in Prioritisation for Catchment Scale River Restoration.
New eWater website
UK market expansion
The new eWater website ewater.com.au goes live, achieving visitor traffic at a level twice that of the old site.
eWater CRC establishes a two-year reseller agreement with JBA Consulting, with a commercial launch of the UK version of popular stormwater product music planned for November, 2010.
H2O Thinking online eWater releases their revamped water management magazine, H2O Thinking, along with a new website ewater. com.au/h2othinking Science For The Real World newsletter launched Science for the real world, eWater’s regular email newsletter showcases real world applications of products and science. To date it has a readership of more than 2000 people. eWater at G’Day USA eWater work presented at 2010 G’Day USA water policy forum organised by AusTrade.
Membership of the Catchment Modelling Toolkit reaches 9000 during 2007 and Toolkit product training courses inform more than 100 water industry practitioners.
eWater awarded competitive R&D grants by the National Water Commission to augment core work in surfaceand ground-water modelling (through the Australian Hydrological Modelling Initiative).
Korean application project
Product application projects begin
eWater works with the South Korean Water Resources Corporation (K-water) to develop an environmental flows assessment program for South Korea.
eWater initiates four product application projects, covering several catchments across eastern Australia.
eWater prepares a series of commissioned reports for Commonwealth and State stakeholders, and publishes more than 400 copies of the CRC Report ‘Afforestation in a catchment context: understanding the impacts on water yields and salinity’ to water and forestry industry stakeholders.
eWater Conceptual Architecture eWater CRC establishes the first version of the eWater ‘Conceptual Architecture’ to ensure integration efforts are efficient and coordinated.
In November the National Water Commission and eWater issue a joint statement to mark the key delivery milestone for Source for rivers (formerly River Manager).
The Young Water Scientist of the Year Award eWater CRC postgraduate Simon Linke wins the CRCs Water Forum ‘Young Water Scientist of the Year’ award.
Ministerial launch of Source
In May eWater holds the first Source conference, Source 2012, with the public announcement of new funding from COAG to support the adoption of Source as the new National Hydrological Modelling Platform.
Urban Developer released to partners; Source for rivers beta released; Source for catchments released; Eco Tools suite (Eco Modeller, eFlow Predictor and Concept) released.
Field research gets underway eWater supports model development with new research and field data targeting five priority river systems across eastern Australia to develop the new eco-hydrological relationships necessary to underpin our model development process.
New Commonwealth funding $3 million of funding to improve River Manager functionality from National Water Commission Raising National Water Standards program. Software development eWater Source debuts at Riversymposium; music v4 released; Eco Modeller and eFlow Predictor released to partners.
NHMP/COAG agreement eWater CRC secures a multilateral agreement with all states and territories under the COAG National Hydrological Modelling Strategy to support each jurisdiction to adopt Source as the national hydrological modelling platform. eWater CRC postgraduates 40 postgraduate students enrolled, with 25 of those students completing by June 2012. Software development Eco Evidence released; Source scheduled for release in July.
NWC Grant received
Training and Toolkit membership growth
In March, Guidelines for rainfall-runoff modelling and Guidelines for groundwatersurfacewater interactions modelling are released as supporting documents to the Guidelines for water management modelling.
Guidelines for modelling rainfall runoff and groundwatersurfacewater published
CEO Gary Jones presents a seminar on eWater to the World Bank’s water team on eWater’s integrated modelling system Source. This was part of the G’Day USA Australian trade mission for the water industry.
In February, eWater subscribes as a foundation sponsor of the new waterAUSTRALIA marketing and promotions initiative, set up with the support of AWA and several other foundation sponsors to promote and facilitate Australian water enterprises internationally.
Guidelines for water management modelling published Guidelines released promoting a best practice, quality assured approach to application of modelling tools to water management problems. Plans for future confirmed In April eWater delivers a statement to partners and to the broader water industry confirming a strong continuing role for eWater beyond 2012.
Software development music UK released; music v5 released; Urban Developer released; Water Quality Analyser released; Source prototype to partners; Eco Modeller released to partners.
CRC for Catchment Hydrology: how our hydrology capacity evolved
CRCCH at a glance Chairman John Langford AM Founding Director Emmett O’Loughlin (1990-1995)
• Goulburn-Murray Water • Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water Authority • Griffith University
Director Russell Mein (1995-2002)
• Melbourne Water
Director Rob Vertessy (from July 2002)
• Murray-Darling Basin Commission
Director Rodger Grayson (from July 2004)
• Monash University • National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, New Zealand
The CRC for Catchment Hydrology (1992-2005) focused on hydrological modelling for catchments.
• Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Qld
Among the valuable outcomes of CRC for Catchment Hydrology was the Catchment Modelling Toolkit, which eWater CRC now manages and supports.
• Southern Rural Water
• Sinclair Knight Merz • Sustainable Water Resources Research Center, Republic of Korea • The University of Melbourne • University of New South Wales
• Australian National University
• Water Corporation of Western Australia
• Brisbane City Council
• Bureau of Meteorology
• CSIRO Land and Water • Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources, NSW • Department of Sustainability and Environment, VIC • Earth Tech • Ecological Engineering
Round 1 Forest Hydrology Rob Vertessy CSIRO Land and Water Flood Hydrology Russell Mein Monash University
Urban Hydrology Tom McMahon The University of Melbourne Salinity Glen Walker CSIRO Land and Water Waterway Management Peter Hairsine CSIRO Land and Water
Round 2 Predicting Catchment Behaviour Geoff Podger Land-use Impacts on Rivers Peter Wallbrink Sustainable Water Allocation John Tisdell Urban Stormwater Quality Tim Fletcher Climate Variability Francis Chiew River Restoration Mike Stewardson Communication and Adoption David Perry Education and Training Tim Smith
The industry-identified issues to be addressed by the CRC’s research program were defined as: • water allocation (sustainable allocation of water resources and more efficient water use) • land-use impacts on rivers (addressing the consequences of land clearing in the historical past) • climate variability (the potential to reduce hydrologic risk) • urban runoff quality (the opportunity to improve city rivers and bays) • river restoration (to halt and reverse the degradation of streams and waterways). It couldn’t have come at a better time. With a turbulent and fragmented industry suffering a dearth of technical skills during a period of economic slowdown, the CRC for Catchment Hydrology (CRCCH) got underway in 1992 with a visionary and hugely ambitious agenda. “It was a time when the industry was in disarray,” recalls eWater CRC Board member Rob Vertessy, one of the CRC’s foundation program leaders. “The water industry was not being well serviced by R&D, and was very fragmented, as was the research community. There were lots of small groups all around the country doing their own thing. There was a lot of competition between groups. There wasn’t a pipeline of students coming out, so industry wasn’t getting refreshed with new blood. It was a time of fiscal contraction for a lot of agencies: agencies were getting reorganised and downsized, so there was a lot of turbulence in the industry and it was very difficult to find people with good technical skills. “There was also a huge gap between research and its adoption by the industry. All that really provided an impetus for a CRC.” Onto this fractured and occasionally fractious landscape fell the newly formed CRCCH, tasked with a mission both courageous and historic: “To deliver to resource managers the capability to assess the hydrologic impacts of land-use and water management decisions at whole of catchment scale”.
The performance of the new CRC was to be judged by the level of adoption of research outcomes. The vehicle for facilitating this adoption would be a series of focus catchments, via the direct involvement of catchment managers and community groups in the research at those sites. Bringing together the biggest assemblage of hydrologists ever seen in Australia, the CRC effectively sought to deliver water managers the capacity to manage catchments in a totally new way. Its central goal was something previously inconceivable: the production of a decision support system capable of predicting the movement of water, particulates, and solutes from land to rivers, linking the impact of climate variability, vegetation, soil, and water management in an integrated package. The system had to be capable of allowing catchment and water managers to fully evaluate the shortand long term outcomes of policy decisions at regional scales. The mission recognised that the management issues to be tackled by this predictive capability were national ones, involving the direct expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars each year. “It was a visionary agenda I would say, a really big one,” Vertessy says. “Even to this day predicting catchment behaviour is still very tough to do well, but we’d be nowhere if it weren’t for that CRC. The concentration of effort that we brought to bear: really we made huge
progress in the years of the CRC and we couldn’t have done so without the CRC program.” CRCCH was highly successful by any measure. Even at the time of its 2000-2001 annual report the CRC could boast, with considerable justification: “Our CRC has a reputation for delivering science in forms that are useful to land and water managers.” By the end of its 13 years, the science had matured and the tools had evolved to the point where the focus of the CRC had moved from knowledge acquisition to predictive capability. Under Program Leaders Geoff Podger, Robert Argent, Peter Wallbrink, John Tisdell, Tim Fletcher, Francis Chiew, Mike Stewardson and David Perry and their project teams, it had created a Catchment Modelling Toolkit, then boasting around 4000 members and featuring more than 20 products; supported the training of around 100 graduate students, and catered for more than 3000 people in training courses. It had also sold some 12,000 copies of reports, with many more copies downloaded from the web site. “It was a very exciting mix of field experimentation and modelling work involving a large number of diverse researchers with different ideas. We also had a very large cohort of students that we could get to help us out to test the ideas and bring their own innovations to bear,” Vertessy says.
The efforts of two of its leaders: Chairman John Langord AM and Russell Mein, Director from 1995 to 2002, had proved so stellar that they were influential in winning both men the honour of AM in the 2005 Queen’s Birthday honours list.
“After 12 years of Catchment Hydrology, it is easy to forget that by international standards, we have been involved in an avantgarde experiment... As our North American-based external reviewers noted in 2001, there was ‘nothing comparable’ to our CRC in the United States... clearly we have something very special.” Rodger Grayson, Director, 2005 The newly developed CRC model, the brainchild of then Chief Scientist Ralph Slatyer and Prime Minister Bob Hawke – both determined to address the huge and growing gulf between industry and research – had proved the perfect vehicle to address such ambitions. “After 12 years of the CRC for Catchment Hydrology, it is easy to forget that by international standards, we have been involved in an avant-garde experiment,” reflected then Director Rodger Grayson in the penultimate issue of Catchword in May 2005. “…As our North American-based external reviewers noted in 2001, there was ‘nothing comparable’ to our CRC in the United States. This was reiterated last year when a senior overseas colleague reviewed the eWater business case for us, noting that he knew of ‘no other effort internationally’ that brings together science with well defined industry needs in such an integrated manner.”
Michael Douglas, TRaCK CERF
across institutions and states, and the way the CRC has developed a broad family of people who enjoy working with each other. This was certainly highlighted at the CRC’s Annual Workshop and is something that will continue to have a profound influence into eWater and beyond.”
Grayson said the CRC could point to tangible effects on land and water management in Australia and improved environmental outcomes as a result of applying methods it had developed. He cited the CRC’s Development Projects as prime examples of the application of its methods and tools. “These projects have not only resulted in improved allocation of resources and environmental outcomes, but also served as a terrific vehicle for expanding institutional capacity and providing feedback on how research outputs can best serve industry,” he said. “Other outcomes from our work have included: changes to manuals of practice (e.g. the Australian Rainfall and Runoff), new guidelines and manuals (e.g. river restoration), the application of Water Sensitive Urban Design for stormwater management (via music), and savings to infrastructure costs resulting from new design methods. “Perhaps the most enduring legacy of our CRC though, is the extent to which it has broken down barriers
Links to industry and knowledge exchange were key strengths of the model. Both were reinforced when, in 1996, Ray Leivers from the (then) Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment was seconded to the new position of Technology Transfer Coordinator. Leivers engaged in a series of planning and delivery activities that encouraged and supported project teams in developing an industry perspective for delivering research outcomes. This culture of ‘delivery to industry’ was cemented in 1997 by the Board’s direction to introduce a target of 25 per cent of total CRC expenditure towards technology transfer. “Driven by strong commitment from project staff, and support from the Board and Executive, the CRC was already well regarded within the industry by the time I arrived as Technology Transfer Coordinator in May 1997,” Program Leader David Perry recalled in Catchword newsletter. “One outstanding example of the success of the approach was the CRC publication ‘Hydrological Recipes – Estimation Techniques in Australian Hydrology’ by Grayson et al. published in 1997, providing a range of quick estimation techniques identified by researchers and industry. The publication had sold more than 520 copies within nine months of publication, and is still in demand today.” Another amongst many enduring legacies was the CRC-Forge Method for Extreme Rainfall estimations, which addressed high uncertainties in extreme flood estimation and supported the revision of industry standard guidelines. Since its completion in Victoria, the CRC-Forge methodology has been implemented in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. Years after the research project was completed, Project Leader Erwin Weinmann continues to assist the application of this research across the country. A benefit-cost analysis by independent consultants ACIL later revealed a benefit-cost ratio of 4.9 based on its contribution to dam spillway upgrades alone.
Luminaries As potent as the strength of the CRC model proved to be, Vertessy says much of the success of CRCCH can be sheeted home to the drive, knowledge and ambition of the industry giants who variously led it. A key “mover and shaker” was John Langford AM, who was Board Chairman through the life of the CRC, and who also helped galvanise the Freshwater Ecology CRC by pulling together its key senior researchers. Langford’s efforts were bolstered by the vision and energy of the three “luminaries of hydrologic research” who led it: Foundation Director Emmet O’Louhglin, Russell Mein from Monash University and Tom McMahon from Melbourne. For Rob Argent, who led the Toolkit work and acted as “Chief Integrator”, the resultant community of knowledge remains one of the most outstanding achievements of CRCCH.
“Amongst the reasons that CRCCH and the CRC for Freshwater Ecology were viewed as amongst the more successful CRCs was that the industry science collaboration was there,” Argent recalls. “The real outcomes included that community of knowledge: so the understanding of scientists of each other’s work, the understanding of scientists of the interests of industry, and the understanding of industry of the nature of science and how it gets across to them.” Collaboration and linkages with international groups and researchers in land and water management was also a feature of CRCCH, with leading international researchers and specialists participating in review panels at major stages over the life of the CRC, providing comprehensive advice on the direction, nature and quality of the science being undertaken. “Throughout all the (three water) CRCs there was always a great accent on sharing the knowledge and coaching people to use the tools,” Vertessy says. “All of the participants in the CRC were really fair dinkum about adoption of research outcomes. And that was manifested in a very active outreach program. We did everything. We did intensive seminar series, we video recorded them and sent them around, we ran field days, we ran specialist workshops – dozens of them. We published very userfriendly, readable reports to take the geek factor out of them to try and reach senior managers. We did special briefings for senior managers. We really experimented a lot. We pioneered I think some really good outreach work that has since been mimicked widely in the industry. We really were pioneers, I thought, in that area.”
CRCCH Highlights Over Two Grant Periods In the initial CRC for Catchment Hydrology from 1992 to 1999, the research programs embraced salinity, forest hydrology, waterway management, urban hydrology, and flood hydrology. With the successful bid in 1998-1999 for a further round of funding, the CRC’s programs evolved to include research on predicting catchment behaviour, land-use impacts on rivers, sustainable water allocation, climate variability, and river restoration. The CRC for Catchment Hydrology’s concept of a whole of catchment modelling capability is reflected in the Catchment Modelling Toolkit as well as the E2 software platform which has evolved to become eWater Source. Many people played a role in the success of the CRC and made significant contributions to tools for industry and to the knowledge pool. This is but a taste of some of those many achievements. Our thanks go to all who played a part, for a terrific job well done.
Catchment Modelling Toolkit – Prediction Tools in an Efficient Modelling Framework The central objective of the CRC was to produce an integrated, whole-of-catchment modelling capability for land and water managers, and to deliver this to them via the Catchment Modelling Toolkit. From the science building blocks of the initial CRC, progress on the Catchment Modelling Toolkit accelerated, culminating in the delivery of 20 products via a dedicated Toolkit website, with more than 4000 registered users by June 2005.
In 2002-2003 the Catchment Modelling Toolkit (Robert Argent) reached a major milestone with the adoption of TIME (‘The Invisible Modelling Environment’) as the framework for the development of CRC software modelling products. The functionality of TIME was improved and expanded with industry parties, other CRCs, and software developers having shown strong interest in using the modelling framework. 2004-2005 was spent integrating CRC products using the E2 software platform. E2 enables users to build ‘tailored’ whole of catchment models to suit their particular modelling objectives. The CRC’s E2 platform for integrated modelling capability arrived at a time when there was no such capability on the market.
Improving Water Quality in Reservoir Catchments
The work allowed major savings on infrastructure investment across Australia.
Work in the Waterway Management Program, led by Peter Hairsine, on understanding the sources and mechanisms for sediments and nutrients transported to waterways led to a CRC Association Award for Technology Transfer.
Improved Understanding of Water Use by Forests and Other Vegetation
The 1999 Award acknowledged the success in having had 90% of a target market – the 100 or so landholders within Victoria’s Tarago catchment in West Gippsland – implement remediation works as part of a catchment-wide strategy to improve water quality in the Tarago Reservoir.
The variations in water use from different sorts of vegetation were a major focus of the Forest Hydrology Program led by Rob Vertessy. The CRC work contributed substantially to understanding why forests with different age stands use different amounts of water. The research also covered water use of grass versus trees; impact on water availability of logging, fires, regrowth, and afforestation; and trade-off in quantity and quality from tree planting. Tools were developed to estimate the effect of different land uses at several scales – from stand and forest scale, through catchment scale to the assessment of regional impacts. This work had a major impact on policy directions in Australia such as planning for future water availability in the Murray-Darling Basin via the Victorian White Paper on Water and the National Water Initiative (NWI).
CRC-Forge Computer Software Methodology for Extreme Rainfall Analysis The CRC developed its CRC-Forge methodology for reliably extending design frequency curves for rainfall. This approach led to reductions in the estimated extreme event rainfall/flood definition, saving some millions of dollars on the anticipated spillway expenditures around Australia based on earlier methods of estimating extreme flows. Revised Areal Reduction Factors based on Australian data were also developed as part of the Flood Hydrology Program and built into industry practice via revisions to ARR (Australian Rainfall and Runoff).
Water Sensitive Urban Design The CRC’s work in its Urban Hydrology and Urban Stormwater Quality programs, led by Tony Wong and then Tim Fletcher, was reflected in the construction of an integrated urban design project involving a bioretention stormwater quality treatment system and a wetland built at Lynbrook, east of Melbourne. The system, serving part of a 300-lot residential development, was an Australian first and used an ecologically sustainable stormwater drainage system built to initial CRC specifications.
CRC research and development with Melbourne Water, the Urban and Regional Land Corporation, Victoria (now VicUrban), and Brisbane City Council challenged conventional approaches to urban stormwater management by applying Water Sensitive Urban Design in Melbourne and Brisbane suburbs. In 2001, the CRC was awarded a CRC Association Technology Transfer Award for excellence with its work on Water Sensitive Urban Design.
More accurate short-term forecasts for rainfall A central part of the CRC’s Climate Variability Program, under the leadership of Francis Chiew, was to develop methods for forecasting weather, seasonal climate and streamflow from several hours to several months ahead. At the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, the CRC’s S_PROG rainfall forecasting (nowcasting) model, and five other nowcasting systems from Canada, the US and the UK, were tested as part of the World Weather Research Program Field Demonstration Project.
Environmental flows in streams The CRC’s Flow Events Method, developed as part of the River Restoration Program led by Mike Stewardson for determining and establishing appropriate environmental flows in streams, was applied in several Victorian studies and recommended for use as part of a State-wide environmental flow setting procedure. The CRC team published a special issue of the ‘Australian Journal of Water Resources’ on ‘Environmental Flows’ to follow up on an Environmental Flows workshop held in November 2001 – the largest such event ever held in Australia to that date.
Mwater – experimental water markets In 2002-2003 the Sustainable Water Allocation Program completed operational development of an experimental water market environment, ‘Mwater’ (John Tidswell).
The systems were connected to the Bureau of Meteorology network in Sydney during the Games, to demonstrate stateof-the-art forecasting of rainfall amounts.
The software and methodology allows policy makers to explore alternative water trading instruments under controlled conditions.
EMSS – predicting the impacts of land management on water quality
Mwater has been used in several irrigation areas, including Emerald, Qld; Goulburn-Murray, Vic; and Yanco, NSW, and to provide examples of simulated water trading markets.
Under the leadership of Rob Vertessy, the CRC developed an Environmental Management Support System (EMSS) to predict land management impacts of water quality in 175 sub-catchments covering 22,670 km2 of south-east Queensland.
music – decision support system for urban stormwater management
This regional water quality model was applied in the Brisbane Focus Catchment to predict sediment and nutrient fluxes through the river network and into Moreton Bay. Brisbane-based consultancy group, WBM used the EMSS as part of the South East Queensland Regional Water Quality Management Strategy (now Moreton Bay
Waterways and Catchment Partnership). EMSS provided invaluable experience to guide development of E2.
The decision support system music, for planning and managing urban stormwater, was launched to 700 urban stormwater managers in May 2002 (Tony Wong). The music software and methodology brought together the CRC’s Water Sensitive Urban Design research, and supports stormwater managers in a risk-based approach to water quality target setting and evaluating stormwater treatment options.
Tanya Jacobson BoM
music consolidated its position as a leading edge tool for analysis of urban stormwater management improvement strategies. With a third version released in 2005 and some 400 licensed users, the software is in widespread use within Melbourne Water, Brisbane City Council and among water and land managers, and consulting engineers throughout Australia.
Second Year Review highlights
Industry Reports and Industry Seminars
• uptake of Environmental Management Support Systems (EMSS) by South East Queensland (SEQ) stakeholders;
The CRC developed its popular Industry Report and Industry Seminar series, which aimed to bridge the gap between research outcome and industry practice.
• evapotranspiration maps of Australia; and
For example, seminars held in 1998-1999 each attracted an average of 120 people, with some attracting more than 200. The CRC worked with other organisations including the CRC for Freshwater Ecology to present industry seminars in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, and Brisbane on ‘Constructed Stormwater Wetlands: from Design to Construction’ and a series on ‘Rehabilitating Streams in your Catchment: Priorities and Possibilities.’
The November 2001 Second Year Review Panel noted that ‘the CRC has achieved a number of important awards and achievements, including: • the CRC Association Excellence in Technology Transfer Award 2001;
• establishment of focus catchments as a means of ensuring that research produced ‘outcomes in addition to outputs.’ By June 2005, development projects had proved an outstanding model for adoption of CRC research and technology and providing user feedback. Substantial involvement of industry parties including Brisbane City Council, Natural Resources and Mines, Department of Natural Resources, NSW, and GoulburnMurray Water provided the resources to build up modelling capability within those organisations and to successfully extend the scope of development projects.
CRC for Freshwater Ecology:
Bridging the sciencemanagement-policy divide
CRCFE at a glance CHAIRMAN John Langford AM (1993-2005)
• Environmental Protection Authority, Victoria
FOUNDING CEO Peter Cullen AO (1993-2002)
• Goulburn-Murray Rural Water Authority
CEO Gary Jones (2002-2005) CRCFE set out to establish an ecological basis for the sustainable management of Australian waters, and to bring ecological ideas and dimensions into partnership with other thinking in the water industry. The major outcome of the CRC’s work was new understanding of factors contributing to ecological health in inland waters, and that these characteristics need to be monitored and managed to achieve ecological sustainability.
CRC Participants (as at 2004-05) • ACTEW Corporation • CSIRO Land and Water • Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources, NSW • Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Queensland • Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria • Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation, South Australia • Environment ACT • Environment Protection Authority, NSW
• Griffith University • La Trobe University • Lower Murray Urban & Rural Water Authority • Melbourne Water • Monash University • Murray-Darling Basin Commission • Sydney Catchment Authority
Urban Water Management Ian Lawrence ACT Government, and Peter Breen Melbourne Water Fish Ecology and Management John Harris NSW Fisheries Technology Transfer Peter Cullen Education Richard Norris
• The University of Adelaide
• University of Canberra
Conservation ecology Arthur Georges UC/Margaret Brock
Program Leaders Round 1 Flowing Waters Sam Lake Monash Standing Waters and Eutrophication Rod Oliver MDFRC Floodplain and Wetland Ecology Terry Hillman MDFRC Water Quality & Ecological Assessment Barry Hart Monash
Flow related ecosystem processes Gerry Quinn Monash Restoration ecology Stuart Bunn Griffith/Nick Bond Water quality & ecological assessment Richard Norris UC Education Ian McKelvie Monash/Jane Hughes Knowledge Exchange Gary Jones, Ralph Ogden
When the CRC for Freshwater Ecology (CRCFE) opened its doors in 1993 the hydrologists, biologists, chemists and geographers each had their own unique concepts, indicators and terminology. They didn’t even share a lexicon. Tasked with addressing the ecological basis for the sustainable management of Australian waters, the CRC’s participants first had to learn how to communicate then collaborate. In doing so, they transformed the research culture, instilled a generation of managers with confidence in the science and injected hard science into policy making. “By working together over an extended period, researchers were able to develop a common lexicon and work out how their research needed to be modified in order to integrate the work with the other components of the project,” reflects Dr Ben Gawne, now Director of the MurrayDarling Freshwater Research Centre. “…those different perspectives meant new insights and additional outcomes could be achieved.”
“One of the first hurdles we faced as a CRC was the lack of a common language,” affirms Ian Lawrence, who was seconded from the ACT Government to the CRC at its inception. “Then during the work on sediments we found some commonality in methodologies and approach which we turned into Conceptual Models – tools that came to be used extensively throughout the CRC. Indeed Barry Hart and Bill Maher took them into the National Water Quality Guidelines where they remain a very powerful component.” And so it went once the CRC for Freshwater Ecology (CRCFE) set out, under the leadership of Chairman John Langford AM and the late, great CEO Peter Cullen, to help improve the health of Australia’s inland rivers and wetlands.
Problems found solutions which found their way into the hands of water managers in a triumph for collaboration, inter-disciplinary scientific research and the process of putting science into the hands of all those who needed it. The CRC linked major land and water management agencies, including the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment; the NSW Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources; the Sydney Catchment Authority; Griffith University, and the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines, with key freshwater researchers. It completed two six-year terms, with Cullen at the helm for nine of those 12 years.
Its aim was simply expressed but dauntingly ambitious: to help improve the health of Australia’s inland waters, particularly rivers and wetlands. The CRC program recognised the urgent need for engagement between research and industry in order to address some of the major ecological challenges facing Australia’s rivers, lakes and wetlands. It also brought together a number of sizable collaborative multidisciplinary teams to tackle large and complex problems. The fruits of that work provided vital new insights to a powerful cohort of land, water and river managers and a variety of policy makers. Gawne says those relationships endure today, with managers now empowered to approach key researchers directly for new ecological knowledge.
Equally importantly, he says, the strategic research the CRCFE undertook continues to have a significant influence on management, with examples including: • Campaspe River project, where knowledge of fish recruitment and system’s response to flow still influences environmental flow determinations; • algal blooms, with knowledge of factors that influence blue-green algal blooms still informing reservoir and river management; • decomposition, where much of the early work on leaf decomposition has informed the response of management to blackwater events over the last few years; • wetland acidification, where the CRC investments in sediment biochemical process laid the foundation for understanding wetland acidification in MDB wetlands; • food webs, with work by Stuart Bunn and others having helped us understand the movement of carbon through river food webs.
Cultural Transformation Like sister organisation the CRC for Catchment Hydrology, CRCFE worked hard to build bridges between scientists, policy-makers and managers, says Barry Hart, now with Monash University’s Water Studies Centre. The result – after an early battle to win over some initially dubious scientists – was not only a transformation in the research culture but also the management and policy culture.
all were underpinned by good conceptual models/ conceptualisation,” he says. The application of its research to help support sustainable management was fundamental to the CRC’s goal of helping to improve the health of inland waters. With knowledge exchange a personal passion, Cullen invested significant time and energy developing the CRC’s Knowledge Exchange program and finding people who were willing to be part of the experiment. Other research highlights of the program include major advances in our understanding of floods and droughts in arid Australia from the two projects examining the role of refugia in maintaining biodiversity in dryland rivers. The late Christy Fellows, along with Nerida Beard and Stuart Bunn, conducted research which provided key insights into the relationship of waterholes to each other and as refugia for aquatic organisms in dryland river catchments, as well as identifying processes that sustain biodiversity in these waterholes. Sadly, Christy passed away, too young, in December 2008. The CRC’s knowledge brokering efforts proved both innovative and highly effective. Under the leadership of first Gary Jones as Director of Knowledge Exchange, and then Associate Professor Ralph Ogden (when Jones became CEO), the knowledge brokers were a team of independent scientists whose role was to synthesise
Managers learnt to put greater emphasis on evidencebased and knowledge-based decision-making, and to better frame questions, even as scientists became more adept at conceptualising important issues. “With the researchers we pushed really hard – with the assistance of Jean Likens from the United Sates – for it to be standard research practice to really conceptualise the issue before you started plugging away at trying to get additional knowledge. “The Scientific Reference Panel, the Living Murray work, Victorian Environmental Flows Monitoring and Assessment Program (VEFMAP);
acquired knowledge of freshwater ecology and convey it to stakeholders, while listening to and learning from the water industry and community.
the development of the Sustainable Rivers Audit (SRA) and The Living Murray Initiative (TLM), as well as a number of expert panels.
By the end of the CRCFE the full team consisted of Peter Cottingham (Melbourne), Amanda Kotlash (Sydney), Michelle Bald (Mildura), Ruth O’Connor (Canberra), Janey Adams (Goondiwindi), Sylvia Zukowski (Mildura) and Bronwyn Rennie (Canberra). John Hawking (MDFRC, Albury), and Glenn Wilson (Northern Basin Laboratory, Goondiwindi) also committed time to knowledge brokering.
The effectiveness of the approach was clearly seen in the TLM program, which built on work undertaken through the River Murray expert panel (Martin Thoms, Jane Doolan, Gary Jones and others from CRCFE), and which rates among the CRC’s highest profile achievements. “Gary took over as the leader of Knowledge Exchange program and led the CRC’s TLM project,” Gawne says. “He had a very clear vision of what was required and both coordinated the researchers within the CRC and got them to address the challenges – even though this was a very uncomfortable experience for many of us. Gary was also the main contact with the MDBC who managed the process and then helped the MDBC communicate the outcomes to ministers and the community.”
Unique to CRCFE, the knowledge brokers showed the immense value in scientists making direct contact with the end-users of their research in pursuit of significant management outcomes. “Being a knowledge broker was a challenge but it demonstrated that the CRC was committed to having the knowledge it generated taken on board or at least put on the table in terms of decision-making,” says Peter Cottingham, who became the CRCFE’s first knowledge broker in 1998. That approach, and the co-location of knowledge brokers in organisations like Melbourne Water and the Sydney Catchment Authority, gave managers much higher levels of confidence in the judgements they made. Major projects where knowledge was applied to management issues included the review of the Murray-Darling Basin cap, 24
That knowledge exchange produced many fruits. In a report produced for Environment Australia, the CRC identified the likely ecological outcomes of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) water reforms. This information, along with the consideration of emerging issues, assisted development, implementation and assessment of the COAG Water Reform Policy. In mid 2002, the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council established the Living Murray initiative to redress the decline in river condition. The CRCFE led the environmental part of a ‘triple bottom line’ analysis examining the benefits arising from three potential environmental flow scenarios for the Murray River, for the MDBC’s Living Murray initiative, culminating in a report of the Scientific Reference Panel (SRP). The CRCFE coordinated input from over 70 scientists across the Murray-Darling Basin involved in the SRP assessment, and linked this to a new decision support system, the Murray Flows Assessment Tool, developed with Bill Young’s team at CSIRO, which was used to assess the environmental flow scenarios.
CRCFE also proved capable of assembling rapid response teams to address urgent environmental or river management problems, such as the massive slump of peat into the Wingercarribee Reservoir. “You could put together a team very quickly to provide a rapid response and advice into a crisis,” he said. “You could take someone like a Terry Hillman or a Sam Lake or a Peter Cullen to a river; they could have a look and within an hour or so they had probably worked it all out. That technique enabled governments to move quickly on difficult decisions.” The CRC also developed a framework for the Sustainable Rivers Audit (SRA) in close consultation with water industry representatives, which was to become a significant part of future reporting on river health in the Murray-Darling Basin. This work was an extension of the CRC’s review “Ecological sustainability of rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin”, undertaken as part of the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council’s “Review of the Operation of the Cap”. CRC staff also played a major role in the development of the new ANZECC/ARMCANZ water quality guidelines, and presented workshops in all capital cities around Australia explaining the guidelines’ philosophy and approach.
By the time it gave way to eWater CRC in 2005, then CEO Prof Gary Jones could confidently assert than in its 12-year history the CRCFE had helped make a real difference to the effective management of the Australian water environment. “I can say with certainty that CRCFE has helped improve Australia’s inland waters, and that we have made a difference to water management in Australia,” wrote CEO Gary Jones in the final issue of the Watershed newsletter, in a piece aptly titled ‘So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish’.
CRCFE also set up three regional laboratories: the Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre at Albury, the Lower Basin Laboratory at Mildura, and the Northern Laboratory at Goondiwindi specifically to operate in partnership with the communities. John Whittington, now Deputy Secretary, Resource and Information with the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Tasmania, says the CRC had such a great policy influence because of its credibility. Such was the reputation of Cullen, and hence his team, that he was able to directly impact Government policy at the Ministerial level. Such high level advice was the genesis of the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, a multimillion dollar program. Cullen was also in large part the architect of the regional model of national resource management.
CRCFE Highlights Over Two Grant Periods The Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology (CRCFE) was a national research centre specialising in river and wetland ecology. The CRCFE developed ecological understanding to improve and protect Australia’s inland waterways by collaborative research, education, resource management, policy advice and community liaison. The knowledge base of the CRC for Freshwater Ecology, absorbed into eWater CRC, has helped build a picture and understanding of rivers, catchments, floodplains, wetlands and the effects of urban stormwater. This new knowledge takes the form of datasets, conceptual models, technical reports, publications and the software AUSRIVAS and Watercourses Online. Many people played a role in the success of the CRC and made significant contributions to tools for industry and to the knowledge pool. This is but a taste of some of those many achievements. Our thanks go to all who played a part for a terrific job well done.
Living Murray Initiative On 14 November 2003, the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council agreed to a first-step environmental allocation of 500 gigalitres for the River Murray system. The Ministerial Council’s decision balanced a complex array of environmental, economic and social concerns. Led by Gary Jones, CRCFE staff drove the provision of scientific advice to guide the Ministerial Council’s November decision. At the request of the MDBC senior researchers from the CRCFE and elsewhere across the Murray-Darling Basin formed the Scientific Reference Panel (the SRP). The panel’s role was to oversee the scientific assessment process and to write the interim report submitted on 1 October. The Knowledge Exchange team held the whole process together through many busy and often turbulent months.
CRCFE staff were instrumental in the writing of the revised National Water Quality guidelines and the Australian Guidelines for Water Quality Monitoring and Reporting. The conceptual frameworks CRCFE helped develop were the basis of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission’s Sustainable Rivers Audit. CRCFE’s ‘snapshot of MDB river condition’ derived from its work for the first National Land & Water Resources Audit, played an integral part in advancing the Living Murray Initiative, which saw 500 million dollars invested to recover 500 GL of water for the environment.
Biological Assessment Methods The CRCFE developed and applied biological assessment methods based on fish, algae, macroinvertebrates and rates of key ecological processes. In doing so, it transformed biological methods for measuring water quality into practical tools. Of those the most widely applied by the end of the CRCFE’s life were macroinvertebrate methods, which made their mark via the AUSRIVAS (Australian River Assessment System) method for river assessment, developed with the assistance of CRCFE as part of the National River Health Program. The University of Canberra team developed, tested and packaged the methodology as AUSRIVAS. The demonstrable rigour and scientific strength of the assessment tools, together with the provision of training and quality assurance programs, and the fostering of partnership across government, academia, industry and the community, resulted in the acceptance of these tools as the national basis for assessment of waterway health. Building on the body of growing knowledge regarding waterway processes and ecology, and on the success of the AUSRIVAS assessment tool, a number of research institutions: University of Canberra (Richard Norris, Sue Nichols, Fiona Dyer, Peter Liston, Ian Lawrence, Martin Thoms), Monash University (Barry Hart), Griffith University (Stuart Bunn), Murray Darling Freshwater Research
Centre (MDFRC) (John Whittington), CSIRO (Ian Prosser) collaborated in the development of a ‘waterway health assessment’, as the basis for undertaking national and Murray-Darling Basin sustainable rivers audits. In 2001, the seminal Assessment of River Condition: an audit of the ecological condition of Australian rivers, which focused on the aggregate impacts of resource use on Australia’s rivers, was published by the CRC’s Richard Norris, Peter Liston, Nick Bauer, Nerida Davies, Fiona Dyer, Simon Linke and Martin Thoms in collaboration with Ian Prosser and Bill Young. The assessment incorporated a range of attributes that are considered to indicate key ecological processes at the river reach and basin levels. Equally significant was the Snapshot of the Condition of the Rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin (Norris et al. 2001a) which employed methods developed and data collected in the National Land and Water Resources Audit. This report was also an important component contributing to the decision to provide more water to the Murray-Darling Rivers.
Role of Particulates in Absorption of Nutrients etc CRCFE research yielded a number of major shifts in our understanding of water quality/ecology processes in rivers, lakes and estuaries, enabling major advances in waterway management in Australia and internationally.
The recognition of stream flow (environmental flows) as a major driver of biodiversity and waterway health achieved a major breakthrough in building an understanding of Australian waterways ecology and health. Key contributors to this research were Monash University (Gerry Quinn, Ian Rutherford), MDFRC (Terry Hillman, Paul Humphries, Ben Gawne), CSIRO (Ian Prosser), University of Canberra (Richard Norris, Martin Thoms).
Decision Trees for Algal Blooms During the 1980s and 1990s, water authorities struggled to respond to widespread occurrences of nuisance blue-green algal blooms in lakes and rivers, impacting on water supplies and recreational use of waterways, and on waterway health. Factors triggering algal blooms, and determining the composition of algae, were complex and poorly understood at the time. Two algologists: Rod Oliver (MDFRC) and George Ganf (University of Adelaide) developed ‘decision trees’ which linked a range of physical, chemical and biological factors to nuisance blue-green algae. This enabled water managers to assess the risk of occurrence of nuisance blue-green algae, and pointers on which factors might be modified to reduce this risk. CRCFE Mk I (1993–1998) had a major research program on the ecology and control of toxic algal (cyanobacterial) blooms. The Chaffey Dam study led by CSIRO and MDFRC was one of the first very detailed studies of the efficacy of artificial mixing to control algal blooms in Australia. Similar work on the Murrumbidgee River found that flow could potentially be manipulated to minimise temperature stratification in weir pools and, therefore reduce the frequency and severity of blooms.
Reservoir Management In the early 1990s, there was little scientific information available to reservoir managers to guide them in managing large water supply reservoirs, Lawrence recalls. The CSIRO Land & Water team (Phillip Ford, Brad Sherman, Ian Webster, Myriam Bormans), MDFRC (Rod Oliver, John Whittington), Dept LWC (Bob Crouch), University
of Canberra (Ian Lawrence, Bill Maher), and ANU (Bob Wasson), collaborated in undertaking studies of Chaffey Dam, Burrinjuck Reservoir and Murrumbidgee River Weir Pools. Based on the research findings from these studies, and a series of national workshops with reservoir managers, management guidelines were published by the CRCFE in 1999.
Carbon By the mid-1990s, carbon was emerging as the key driver of productivity of waterways. Teams of MDFRC scientists (Ben Gawne, Darren Baldwin, Paul Humphries), University of Canberra (David Williams, Bill Maher, Ian Lawrence) undertook studies of carbon fluxes in the Murray and its tributaries. The research established the importance of links to the floodplain and anabranches in respect to distribution and recruitment of carbon.
Urban Waterway Ecology At the inception of CRCFE in 1993, urban waterway ecology was identified as a key area requiring urgent research. The Monash University team (Chris Walsh, Peter Breen), together with the CRC Catchment Hydrology team (Tim Fletcher, Hugh Duncan, Tony Wong) identified urban imperviousness and hydraulic connectivity as major drivers of impairment of urban waterways. This research become the scientific underpinning of a more sustainable approach to urban development. This approach is now accepted internationally as the urban design benchmark. Research undertaken by University of Canberra (Ian Lawrence) and Monash University (Peter Breen) on the performance of urban ponds and wetlands led to the wide adoption nationally of ponds and wetlands in urban development, and the retention of natural creeks and streams, as the basis for more sustainable urban futures, and protection of downstream waterways. The research provided planners and designers with improved pond, wetland and waterway design guidelines. Through the 1990s and early 2000, Monash University (Barry Hart), assisted by University of Canberra (Bill
Maher, Ian Lawrence), played a major role in the evolution of the Australian and New Zealand Water Quality Guidelines, from a simplistic set of predominantly chemical based water quality criteria, to an ecosystem, issue or major threats to health, and risk assessment based management framework. The research undertaken by MDFRC (Terry Hillman, Ben Gawne) and Griffith University (Stuart Bunn) on floodplains, enabled the development of integrated waterway health assessment methodologies, and the national river health audit programs outlined above. Understanding of the ecology and pathways to restoration in urban waterways was greatly advanced during the life of CRCFE. Rigorous studies in Melbourne’s streams by Chris Walsh clarified the factors that lead to ecological decline of urban streams, showing that it is runoff from impermeable surfaces that are directly connected to the streams by drainage pipes or channels that causes the ecological damage, largely via the frequent inputs of stormwater, coming even from small rain events. A quantitative relationship was developed between this ‘effective imperviousness’ of the urban catchment and the waterway ecological health, proving to be a powerful tool for urban planners and managers.
Measuring Biodiversity Via the MDFRC, the CRCFE developed around 50 taxonomic identification (ID) guides to numerous invertebrates and larval fish. At the same time, researchers at Griffith University adopted molecular genetic approaches in their taxonomic studies. The research is providing valuable advice for the management of waterways and in particular for projects where inter-basin water transfers or re-colonisation by rare and endangered species are being contemplated. Fish researchers in the CRCFE demonstrated the valuable outcomes obtained from the construction of proper fishways in rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin and along the east coast, monitored and reported on threatened fish species, and developed habitat rehabilitation strategies
for those and other fish species. The work led to a far better understanding of carp control, factors affecting the numbers of fish in a river and their migrations (or not), predatorâ€“prey relationships in fish refuges, and the factors such as salinity and cold water pollution affecting the recruitment process in native fish species. Ben Gawne, Paul Humphries (MDFRC) and colleagues found strong evidence in lowland rivers of Victoria that warm slackwaters, in macrophyte beds or backwaters, act like incubators for native fish and water bugs. CRCFE studies by John Koehn (Dept of Sustainability and Environment, Vic), Paul Humphries and associates, suggested the spread of alien aquatic invaders is hindered more by natural flow regimes than by regulated flows.
Environmental Flow Regimes Environmental flows (e-flows) are an important ingredient in the management of healthy working rivers. The CRCFE and its partner organisations developed and strengthened both the concept and the science, with research and river management staff helping devise eflow regimes for rivers in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, including the River Murray. The CRC tried to define the ways in which river ecosystems respond to flow regimes. It found there were often complex relationships, and discovered strong evidence that riparian plants and trees, fish, macroinvertebrates, waterbirds and microscopic organisms respond in a range of ways to various aspects of flow regimes. These observations added support for the hypothesis of many aquatic ecologists that flow is a key driver of ecological condition, including water quality, in rivers and floodplain wetlands.
Threatened Species CRCFE scientists were members of threatened species scientific committees Jane Hughes (Qld), Margaret Brock (NSW) and had input to the design and revision of the legislation for Commonwealth and State Acts. Angela Arthington took part in an international program of biodiversity science, DIVERSTAS. Increased awareness of the need for freshwater biodiversity conservation and a heritage river system were derived from the Fenner Conference and from other CRCFE publications such as Conserving Natural Rivers: A Guide for Catchment Managers (Cullen 2002) and Biodiversity in Inland Waters â€” Priorities for its protection and management (Georges and Cottingham 2002). Research on adaptive management in restoration ecology (C210) and in fish recovery (C220, C715) also fed into policy implementation. In 2004, Mark Kennard and Angela Arthington, with Brad Pusey, all of Griffith University, won the Whitley Award for zoological publishing, from the Royal Zoological Society of NSW, for their book Freshwater Fishes of Northeastern Australia.
Almost 100 PhDs emerged from the two periods of the CRC. Many are now successful government water managers, technical specialists, consultants or research scientists.
The NSW Rivers Survey, led by John Harris and his team from NSW Fisheries, was a groundbreaking study that assessed the health of fish populations across the State. This showed that many rivers were degraded; especially the more heavily managed southern rivers of the Murray.
Path to industry adoption
eWater CRC at a glance CHAIRMAN Don Blackmore AM (2005-2012)
Corporation (associate) • La Trobe University (associate)
FOUNDING CEO Gary Jones (2005-2012)
• Lower Murray Water
eWATER INNOVATION CEO Tim Blackman (2008-2012)
• Monash University
eWater CRC set out to be a national and international leader in the development, application and commercialisation of products for integrated water cycle management. The CRC is achieving its goal, especially with the development of Source, Australia’s new hydrological modelling platform.
• NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
CRC Participants (as at Jan 2012)
• Southern Rural Water
• Melbourne Water • Murray-Darling Basin Authority
• NSW Office of Water • SARDI • SA Department for Water • SA Water • Sinclair Knight Merz • SunWater
RESEARCH AND EDUCATION Stuart Bunn, Peter Wallbrink APPLICATION PROJECTS Ralph Ogden ADOPTION AND COMMERCIALISATION David Perry, Nola Wilkinson, Ann Milligan LANDSCAPE ANALYSIS RESEARCH Angela Arthington, Mike Stewardson BIOPHYSICAL PROCESSES RESEARCH Angus Webb, Bill Young WATER MANAGEMENT RESEARCH Jane Blackmore, Grace Mitchell
• ACTEW Corporation
• Sustainable Water Resources Research Centre, Korea (associate)
• ACT Government (EPA)
• State Water NSW (associate)
• BMT WBM
• Sydney Catchment Authority
• Brisbane City Council
• The University of Adelaide
• Bureau of Meteorology
• The University of Melbourne
• The University of Newcastle
• Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry, QLD
• The University of Queensland (associate)
• Department of Environment and Resource Management, QLD
• University of Canberra
RIVERS AND CATCHMENTS Peter Wallbrink
• Department of Primary Industries, VIC
• Victorian Catchment Management Council (including 9 CMAs)
URBAN AND ECOLOGY Ralph Ogden
• Department of Sustainability and Environment, VIC
• Environment Protection Authority, SA (associate)
Phase 1 (2005-2008)
MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS Gareth Lloyd
• Environment Protection Authority, VIC
PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT Ralph Ogden, Nick Marsh
BUSINESS OPERATIONS Aapo Skorulis
PRODUCT TECHNOLOGIES Robert Argent, Peter Fitch
INTERNATIONAL Robert Carr
• Goulburn-Murray Water • Griffith University • Korea Water Resources
WATER EDUCATION AND E-LEARNING Richard Norris, Peter Oliver BUSINESS OPERATIONS Charlie Robinson, Christine Moore, Aapo Skorulis
Phase 2 (2008-2012)
One CRC or two? With funding winding up for the CRCs for Freshwater Ecology and Catchment Hydrology during 2003-2004, and ongoing drought tightening its grip on the country, the future of both the scientists and the science hung in the balance. John Langford AM, who chaired both forerunner CRCs, initially favoured pushing ahead with two separate bids for new funding to carry the science forward, despite the disquiet of some state agencies, partners in both, who were keen for a merger. However, once the new CRC guidelines came out just before Christmas 2003, with their emphasis on commercial activities and the licensing of intellectual property, the question was easily settled. A merger of the research and capabilities of the two predecessor CRCs was clearly the best option. With Gary Jones in charge of the new bid, (Rob Vertessy having become the Chief of CSIRO Land and Water), the eWater CRC bid won the largest CRC grant in the 2005 round. As a result, eWater Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) began operations as “new-from-existing” CRC during September 2005, with an emphasis on turning research tools developed by its forerunners into best-of-breed, industry standard tools.
“Buoyed by its foundation of wellestablished science, and the team of enthusiastic and experienced people gifted by its predecessors, it has been building its product portfolio and research strengths ever since.” Tony McAlister, Managing Director BMT WBM Pty Ltd Set up as partnership between private and public businesses across eastern Australia seeking economic, commercial and environmental outcomes from smart
water use and management, the new CRC was officially launched on World Water Day, 22 March 2006 by The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP. The new CRC brought across many staff of the former CRCs for Catchment Hydrology and Freshwater Ecology, and recruited a number of new participant organisations, expanding the breadth of skills, end-user networks, tools and specialist knowledge available to it. The eWater CRC vision was to be a national and international leader in the development, application and commercialisation of high quality products for integrated water cycle management. It was to achieve those objectives through a portfolio of products focused on the needs of partners and the broader water market. Buoyed by its foundation of well-established science, and the team of enthusiastic and experienced people gifted it by its predecessors, it has been building its product portfolio and research strengths ever since. The fledgling CRC had a number of strategic objectives. These included establishment of public and private sector partnerships to strengthen the industry adoption and placement of eWater products in national and international markets and to help build scientific and technical capability in the Australian water industry. It also aimed to develop new partnerships with small to medium size enterprises and to establish an external revenue stream to fund ongoing research, development and the long term value of eWater products for the Australian water industry. Its final objective was the building of water industry and public trust in eWater research and products. In its first year of operation eWater also embarked on two significant consulting projects. The first, undertaken in conjunction with eWater partners Sinclair Knight Merz, CSIRO, University of Canberra, the University of Queensland, and Griffith University, was with the National Water Commission to develop the Australian Water Resources (AWR) 2005, (previously known as the Baseline Assessment of Australia’s water resources). The Discovery phase was completed in May-June 2006.
AWR 2005’s primary purpose was to provide a snapshot of Australia’s water resources at the commencement of the National Water Initiative (NWI) reform process, from which future evaluations could be made. The Assessment considered key questions under three key parameters: • Water availability: How much water do we have? How much do we store? What are the variability factors? What are the connections between resources? • Water quality/river health: What is the condition of our water resources? What are the key environmental assets for each system? Are our water systems healthy and able to sustain appropriate biodiversity?
“There has never been a time when sound decision making in water resources management was more important to the economic, social and environmental future of Australia,” CEO Prof Gary Jones noted in eWater’s first annual report.
• Water use: How much water is under entitlements/ licences? How much is allocated? How much do we use? What types of water are used? For what purposes? The second was a project undertaken with DSE Victoria, to monitor ecological responses to environmental flows. This project, considered a flagship project by DSE, was undertaken in conjunction with Victorian Catchment Management Authorities. During that first year eWater also made substantial progress in a research contract with Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) Victoria investigating hydrological studies into the impact of timber harvesting, and began a further contract with DSE investigating the ecology and hydrology of temporary streams in Victoria. eWater also had an ongoing research consultancy with Murray-Darling Basin Commission (MDBC), the Narran Lakes integrated research project. There were 20 research projects in the eWater research portfolio, 10 product development projects and the Integration Blueprint project, which facilitates links between projects. Projects are the basic work unit in eWater. Research projects were commissioned following a six-month intensive planning process (from July to December 2005) involving key research, industry and state agency staff.
“This is where, in a modest but fundamental way, eWater CRC has positioned itself to create and deliver value for its partners, and for the Australian economy and environment. Working mostly behind the scenes, eWater — its staff and partners — has built the next generation of integrated water forecasting and decision tools for Australia. These are tools that will, in the hands of water planners, managers, and operators, ensure that the best scientific and engineering knowledge is available to support the tough and complex decisions that have to be made — decisions that will guide the sustainable use of water for the coming decades.”
On Track for Delivery After an initial year of planning, team building and project operations, 2006–2007 saw the CRC on track to deliver
the version 1 product prototypes promised in the business plan and Commonwealth Agreement. Research and development projects were working effectively, with a high level of on-time milestone completion. Project teamwork and collaboration was good and the CRC’s Architecture team was doing an outstanding job in building an intellectual vision and practical plan for integrating conceptual models and research findings, and directing the development of the eWater product portfolio. The CRC’s Catchment Modelling Toolkit remained an important resource for the water industry, enjoying 1700 new visitors to the toolkit website per month, with more than 200 of those becoming Toolkit members. There were 9000 Toolkit members around the world, 85% in Australia. Consultation and discussions with partners on the establishment process for the CRC’s commercialisation company, eWater Innovation (eWI) was underway. “eWI is essential to the long term value and sustainability of the CRC’s models and decision systems to our partners and external users. Without professional, industry standard customer support, maintenance, installation and training, we run the risk of being just another well meaning research organisation — one where developing innovative models is the end-point, rather than the first link in a value chain that ends with a long term national and international audience of satisfied users,” Jones remarked in the 2006-2007 annual report.
• Victorian Environmental Flows Monitoring & Assessment • ACT Potable Reuse of Wastewater — Environmental Assessment • Timber Harvesting and Water Resources in Victoria. eWater also began working with the South Korean Water Resources Corporation (‘K-water’) to develop an environmental flows assessment program for South Korea. A comprehensive project management framework and operation system was implemented to ensure eWater’s continuous improvement as a project delivery focused organisation. The customer support arm, eWater Innovation Pty Ltd (eWI), commenced full operation in April 2009, initially focused on the release of the upgraded urban stormwater software music v4 in October 2009. The representation of groundwater and surface water interactions will be improved by additional funding provided by the National Water Commission (NWC).
By 2007, more than 100 water industry staff had attended Toolkit product training courses. The year also saw the National Water Commission award eWater CRC competitive R&D grants to the value of almost $2 million, to augment core work in surface- and groundwater modelling (through the Australian Hydrological Modelling Initiative). The CRC also prepared several commissioned reports for Commonwealth and state stakeholders, including: • Australian Water Resources 2005 — Ecosystem Assessment Framework
First Class Leadership In line with Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research guidelines, in 2008–09 eWater CRC was subject to a formal third-year review conducted by an independent review panel.
The panel was chaired by consultant Peter Millington and also comprised: • Professor Barry Hart (Director, Water Science Ltd; and Emeritus Professor, Monash University); • Dr Ian Maxwell (Ian Maxwell Consulting); • Ms Lindley Edwards (CEO, Venture Group Pty Ltd). The third-year review confirmed eWater’s progress to date and capacity to meet its remaining obligations under the Commonwealth Agreement and to its partners. The third-year review independent panel concluded that “the role of eWater CRC in delivering integrated water management tools is now an even higher priority to endusers than when the organisation commenced. It is an organisation with strong, first class leadership which has built eWater CRC into a highly accountable organisation, undertaking leading edge research which is focused on delivering ‘fit-for-purpose’ products to end-users”. The panel concluded that “eWater’s performance to date against the Commonwealth Agreement indicates that it is well placed to deliver its remaining obligations up to June 2012”, and further that “the Economic Impact Assessment confirmed that the benefits of $948 million (2004) estimated in the Commonwealth Agreement should still be delivered”. The accelerated development of Source for rivers (then known as River Manager) was made possible by an additional $6 million of funding announced by Federal Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator the Hon. Penny Wong, in October 2008. After nearly four years of dedicated effort the rollout of eWater prototype and beta models was in full force across 12 eastern state locations, supported by partnerships with state agencies. These partnerships remain fundamental to ensuring that our major models are tested and developed in real world situations. The new focus catchment program which started in 2008 helped ensure the national modelling system was adaptable to meet the needs of Australian governments for
at least the next decade, as well as generating significant on-ground benefits for partners. They also allowed critical insights which were being used to refine and improve our software. More importantly, the models were already helping partners to clarify problems and develop integrated water and land use solutions from Cape York in Queensland to the Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia. To ensure the quality and relevance of our science, we undertook independent international scientific reviews of our Ecological Science and Decision Science areas in late 2008 (the Hydrological Science review was completed earlier in 2008). Among other valuable feedback, the Ecology review panel confirmed the high quality of eWater’s research program, and the Decision Science review panel stated “the quality of research is cutting edge”.
“The Source for rivers model will further water reform under the National Water Initiative... we have genuine progress in developing a consistent national modelling platform that will be able to be implemented across the jurisdictions.” James Cameron, Acting CEO of the National Water Commission By 2010 eWater’s core offer had consolidated into two major modelling product lines: Source – the world’s first truly integrated, river basin-scale water modelling system, capturing rural, urban and environmental water supply needs across changing climate and catchment land uses; and the Toolkit – the online DIY shop for hydrological and ecological modellers. “eWater CRC has really raised the standard of software development,” says Rob Vertessy. “That’s really where
it put all its emphasis: taking what were great research tools and turning them into best-of-breed, robust, industry standard tools. And they have enhanced their capability of course, but they also raised the standards of coding – and the associated training, I might add – in a way that the industry really needs if it is to rely on the tools as core enterprise models.” eWater also continues the tradition of its forerunner CRCs in playing a leading role in knowledge transfer. For instance in 2010, eWater signed up to the first and only Australianhosted Knowledge Hub for Healthy Rivers and Aquatic Ecosystems – one of 17 water-knowledge hubs in this international zone funded by Asian Development Bank. The hub, being led and coordinated by eWater colleagues at the International Water Centre in Brisbane, was launched in November 2009. It aims to ‘connect people and organisations concerned about creating healthy rivers and aquatic ecosystems’, particularly between academics and practitioners working towards long term collaboration and knowledge. In 2010 eWI won its first Commercialisation Australia grant of $338,000 to support the way eWI develops international sales, support and distribution of music in a range of global markets. Also on the international front, eWater Innovation (eWI), our subsidiary software distribution, customer support and training company, successfully established its first international reseller agreement with Jeremy Benn & Associates in the UK. As a result, a targeted UK version of eWater’s widely used stormwater-system design model, music was developed and launched commercially in July 2011. Over the course of its life eWater CRC has funded or part-funded 40 postgraduate students since 2005. Three withdrew for various reasons, at relatively early stages of their PhD studies, leaving 37.
Steering Towards a Bright Future eWater will continue to develop its product suite and to provide professional modelling services after the CRC ends in June 2012. “Based on our discussions with the industry and our partners, the eWater Board believes there is a compelling case for eWater to continue as a financially independent, not-for-profit organisation based on revenue from contracts, products and services,” says CEO Professor Gary Jones. “After receiving a very positive response from the industry we have decided we will continue to focus our core business on hydrological and ecological model development, applications and maintenance as well as the support and training needed for professional software. “We have released eight modelling products in the last year with the most recent being Urban Developer in July. We are on track with our plans for completing the CRC’s primary mission – to build a new, integrated water modelling system eWater Source – and we are pleased to be able to confirm our commitment to maintenance and support beyond CRC funding,” Professor Jones said. eWater beyond July 2012 will be directly owned by State and Commonwealth water agencies, with associate partnerships with consulting, research and technology partner organisations. This is consistent with the CRC program objective to achieve a successful transition to continue to support its industry sector. Professor Jones thanked eWater’s partners, both research and industry, for their collaboration and support in developing and, trialling new products. “This real world input has been vital to proving the value and benefits that come from products which have developed to meet demanding Australian conditions,” he said. eWater expects to form new relationships with consultants and the industry. “We look forward to developing new contracts and relationships and are already talking to several organisations.”
eWater’s future – life beyond the CRC The current CRC contract between the Commonwealth, the CRC partners and eWater Ltd will complete in June 2012. However, with support from of our core government water industry partners, eWater will establish itself as a commercially viable, not-for-profit organisation. Our first major job will be to support the implementation and use of Source as the new national hydrological modelling platform in Australia. To that end, starting in mid-2012, our COAG partners will contract eWater to provide these ‘adoption’ services in support of COAG’s National Hydrological Modelling Strategy. This will include the provision of long term maintenance and improvements to Source on the same fully professional and quality assured basis as has occurred under the aegis of the eWater CRC. From July 2012, we will be opening access to Source to any water, research or educational organisation through membership of the new Source Modelling Community. Members will have unlimited access to Source licences for their staff and students, as well as the opportunity to collaborate with the global online Source ‘community of practice’ and to participate in open-source Source software development.
Over time eWater will also build strategic relationships with international river and water management organisations to facilitate the use of Source and Toolkit models around the world, especially in developing and emerging countries. eWater Limited is already an incorporated business and can continue on that basis with only minor changes to its constitution. We will remain a member-based company, with COAG jurisdictions as core members. Other organisations will be able to collaborate as members of the new Source Modelling Community. It is our absolute ambition to retain the positive research-industry collaborative approach of the CRC into the future. Critically, as a mission-driven not-for-profit, public organisation, we will retain our fundamental commitment to ecologically sustainable water management in Australia and around the world, and also ensure that we remain a highly attractive place to work for innovative scientific and engineering minds. Photo (left): Gary Jones explains eWater Source to Senator The Hon Don Farrell at Singapore International Water Week.
Remembering Professor Peter Cullen Professor Peter Cullen AO FTSE, MAgrSc, DipEd (Melb), Hon DUniv (Canb)
18 May 1943 – 13 March 2008 Professor Peter Cullen AO FTSE founded the CRC for Freshwater Ecology (CRCFE) in 1993, and led it as Chief Executive until his retirement in 2002. His far-sightedness, intellect and direct-speaking characterised his leadership, until his death in 2008. He actively advocated for water in the environment as a founder of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, and as a regular interviewee on radio and television on all matters concerning water ecology.
For 20 years Professor Peter Cullen was Australia’s most influential water scientist. He was well-known as a clear-thinking and direct-speaking person whose influence helped raise awareness of water issues and drive Australian sustainable water policy initiatives, from the 1990s right up until his death in March 2008.
Professor Cullen dedicated some 40 years to furthering water science, particularly the studies of water quality and catchment management. His contributions to science policy and management, environmental education and higher education endure today. Cullen studied agricultural science at the University of Melbourne before undertaking detailed studies of irrigation and the problems it can bring to the land it makes productive. Cullen’s major professional work was related to water in the environment, notably nutrient dynamics, freshwater and lake ecology, environmental flows, and catchment management. His work on the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality was recognised with the award of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Environmentalist of the Year in 2001, and he won the Naumann-Thienemann Medal of the International Limnology Society in 2004. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2004 for service to freshwater ecology. He was a National Water Commissioner in his final years. As Chief Executive of the CRCFE, Cullen was influential in developing and leading multi-disciplinary collaborative
research, focused on solving particular environmental problems. During that time, Peter was also a representative on numerous local, Australian and international advisory boards and committees for natural resources management and higher education. He also served as Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science at the University of Canberra. Both his own studies and the work of the scientists of CRCFE left Cullen in no doubt of the need for water quality management to start in the catchment. He actively promoted understanding of environmental allocations for rivers and wetlands. He was, in large part, the architect of the regional model of resource management. In his final decades Peter become widely recognised through media appearances or in public forums, where he championed rivers, the landscape, and sensible courageous management of water, in clear language we could all understand.
many other roles, Professor Cullen was an inspiring and influential leader in the important debate about water in this country.” John Langford AM knew Cullen since their days as research students at Melbourne University. Professor Langford, who is now the Director of Uniwater, said Cullen “changed the water debate in this country and our attitudes to our river environment”. “He was a brilliant communicator with a sharp mind – he understood the political process and the media and used this to great effect. His influence in the water debate will be greatly missed.” That brilliance was evidenced in ‘This Land Our Water: Water Challenges for the 21st Century,’ a volume of Peter’s writings and speeches initiated by Peter’s wife, Reverend Vicky Cullen.
He was responsible for developing new models for knowledge-exchange, via scientists who are also skilled communicators and knowledge brokers, and his own straight talking. He informed water agencies, communities and research institutions as well as federal, state and territory governments on water issues. With knowledge-exchange a personal passion, Cullen invested significant time and energy developing the CRC’s Knowledge Exchange program and finding people who were willing to be part of the experiment. The Peter Cullen Water and Environment Trust was launched in his memory on the first anniversary of his death. Senator Penny Wong, in announcing the federal government contribution of $1 million to establish the Trust, said: “The creation of a perpetual legacy in the name of Peter Cullen is a fitting tribute to this great Australian on the anniversary of his death a year ago today. Professor Cullen made an enormous contribution to the management of natural resources in Australia, most of all around rivers and freshwater ecology. As a founding National Water Commissioner, a leading member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, and in his
Photo (above): Peter Cullen at his retirement function with wife Vicky and John Langford Photo of Peter Cullen by M Ashkanasy (courtesy of Melbourne Water)
Vale Emeritus Professor Richard ‘Chuck’ Norris 18 January 1951 – 19 September 2011 In 2011 eWater mourned the loss of Emeritus Professor in Freshwater Ecology Richard Norris, research scientist, consultant, lecturer, supervisor and educator extraordinaire. As program then education leader with the CRC for Freshwater Ecology, education leader for eWater CRC and head of the Institute of Applied Ecology, Richard’s contributions during 30-plus years of research and consulting were unparalleled. His dedication, energy and passion are sorely missed. As a research scientist, consultant, lecturer, supervisor, as education leader for eWater CRC and head of the Institute of Applied Ecology, Richard’s track record included more than 30 years of research and consulting experience.
Working in the biological assessment of rivers, including metal and coal mine effluents, heated water, agricultural effects, sewage effluents, siltation, environmental flows and predictive modelling, he had 70 international and 140 national conference presentations, two books, 95 internationally refereed publications and 260 technical reports to his name. Richard officially retired as Professor of Freshwater Ecology (UC) on 1 May 2011, after stepping down as the Director of the Institute for Applied Ecology (UC) and Postgraduate Education Leader of eWater CRC. Richard was appointed by the late Professor Peter Cullen in 1980, following completion of a PhD on ‘The Ecological Effects of Mine Effluents on the South Esk River (North East Tasmania)’ at the University of Tasmania. His contributions to freshwater ecology and river management from that point on were both measurable and immeasurable. The ripple effect of his work in contributing to our knowledge base and informing better management, education and training of the next-generation of scientists will continue to add value for many years to come. Richard’s endeavours contributed to major Australian water initiatives, including the first National Land and Water Resources Audit (2000) and the snapshot of the MurrayDarling Basin river condition. More recently he had input into the development of a framework for the Assessment of River and Wetland Health for nationally comparable reporting for the National Water Commission. Managing the eWater education and training program, he developed training material for water industry professionals as well as students – employing online and blended teaching methods. The AUSRIVAS accreditation course, eWater and the University of Canberra all benefited from his innovative training approaches. Richard made a remarkable contribution to the scientific community. His work influenced hundreds of people on a direct professional level, and contributed to knowledge and management nationally. He leaves an impressive legacy professionally, as well as an interesting and memorable personal legacy.
Vale Dr Christy Fellows 17 October 1973 – 10 December 2008 The eWater community suffered a blow in December 2008 when it lost young water scientist and Project Leader Christy Fellows, who passed away at the age of 35 after a short illness. As deputy project leader in the CRC for Catchment Hydrology, Christy investigated the contribution of nitrogen run-off from agriculture and other human land use to problems such as blue-green algae blooms downstream in rivers and catchments. Christy worked with the CRC for Freshwater Ecology from 2000 onwards. Her research into benthic metabolism and primary productivity in waterholes was important in the CRCFE Dryland River Refugia project. She also liaised, on CRCFE’s behalf, with Land & Water Australia, CRCCH and the Department of Natural Resources and Mines in projects on nitrogen dynamics in streams and riverbanks. She then joined eWater CRC as a project leader, leading eWater’s in-stream processes project which compared seasonal nutrient cycling patterns in three very different river systems, Queensland’s Logan River, NSW’s Gwydir River and Victoria’s Ovens River. Her husband and fellow Australian Rivers Institute researcher, Dr Wade Hadwen, was also part of the eWater team. The first eWater research paper stemming from Christy’s project won the Best Paper of 2010 award at the eWater Annual Meeting. (Hadwen WL, Fellows CS, Westhorpe D, Rees GN, Mitrovic S, Taylor B, Baldwin DS, Silvester E, Croome R. 2010. Longitudinal trends in river functioning: Patterns of nitrogen and carbon processing in three Australian rivers. River Research and Applications 26: 1129-1152). In 2006 Christy developed Australia’s first Bachelor of Science in Water Resources as the Deputy Head of School in the Griffith School of Environment. The course, aimed to produce graduates equally qualified in water science, resource
management and policy, immediately attracted strong industry backing and scholarship offers, as water authorities struggled to fill the shortage of qualified water professionals. She also participated part in The Earlier the Better project, identifying and putting in place early intervention strategies for first-year students at risk. In 2005 she earned a Griffith University Teaching Citation for the Aquatic Ecology course she convened. The North American Benthological Society (NABS) created an endowment in Christy’s name to provide funding support to bring an Australian student to attend the NABS annual meeting each year in perpetuity. Originally from the United States, Dr Fellows graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland with degrees in biology and geology before beginning her PhD at University of New Mexico. Supervisor Professor Cliff Dahm said he “knew immediately Christy was someone special”, equally gifted in teaching and research.”
We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the following people, and all others who were involved in the CRCCH, CRCFE and eWater CRC.
Miquel Baumgarten (nee Oâ€™Toole)
Wijedasa Hewa Alankarage
Gustavo Adolfo Almeida
Linda Brennan Judy Bricout
Phillip County Katrina Cousins
Alice Brown (nee Best)
Sarah Commens (nee Cartwright)
Gustavo Adolfo de Almeida
Rob de Hayr
Ronald De Rose
Ralph de Voil
Jocelyn Dela Cruz
H L Duong
Mehul Dhanesha Pam Dickinson
E Malcolm Eadie Geoff Earl Beth Ebert Brendan Ebner Kimberly Edwards Megan Edwards Peter Edwards Chas Egan Mark Eigenraam Rachel Eley Jim Elliott Iain Ellis Robin Ellis Tim Ellis Tania Ellison David Enever Graeme Esslemont Teri Etchells Lisa Evans Richard Evans Penny Everingham Sara Ewing
F Jill Fagan Peter Fairbrother Robert Faragher Brendan Farthing James Fawcett Benjamin Fee Pat Feehan Paul Feikema Colin Feilen John Fein Christy Fellows Banti Fentie
Jennie Fenton John Fenton Keith Ferdinands Rod Ferdinands Gayani Fernando Peter Ferrett John Fien Kyla Finlay Brian Finlayson Campbell Fitzpatrick Nancy FitzSimmons Nigel Fleming Rick Fletcher Tim Fletcher Dianne Flett David Flower Terry Flynn Peter Fogarty Chintha Fonseka Cathy Ford Phillip Ford Christine Forster John Forster Sarah Forster John Foster Neal Foster Kiernan Fowler Ruth Foxwell Matthew Francey Cathy Francis John Francis Judy Frankenberg Ian Fraser Andrew Freebairn David Freebairn Jacqueline Frizenschaf Andrew Frost Guobin Fu
G Isabelle Gabas John Gallant Simon Gallant Antonia Gamboa-Rocha Guan-Hua Gao Ted Gardner Daina Garklavs Neville Garland Janet Gaskin Amy Gaukroger Ben Gawne Nadina Geary Guy Geeves Susan Gehrig Peter Gehrke Jonathon Geisecke Amy George Biju George Arthur Georges Gerry Gerrish Myriam Ghali Enzo Giarino Jannine Gibson Matthew Giesemann Helen Gigney Mat Gilfedder Jennie Gilles Dean Gilligan Rachel Gilmore John Ginnivan Chris Gippel Tim Gippel Faith Githui Alena Glaister Helen Glazebrook Margaret Gooch
Mathew J Hardy
Susie S.Y. Ho
John Langford AM
Harpreet Singh Kandra
Jason Lieschke Dennis Lincoln
S. Mohammad Mortazavi N.
Bill Park-Weir Andy Parsons
Matt O’Connell Paul O’Connor
Glen Moller John Molloy
Shane Papworth Jin Park
Kylie Peterson Tim Peterson Robyn Pethebridge Cuan Petheram Matthew Pethybridge
Melanie Ryan Dongryoel Ryu
Zenadia San Feleipe Matthew Sant
Pau Tai Sim
Jill St John
Pua Tai Sim
Margot Turner (nee Biggin)
Shaun Thomas Jim Thompson
Erwin Weinmann Fiona Wells
Jason Van Berkel
Albert Van Dijk
Wendy Van Dok
Nick Whiterod John Whittington
Albert Van Dyk
Harm Van Rees
Jo Anne Thyer
Frank van Schagen
Chris Wilson Chris Wilson Glenn Wilson Grant Wilson Ian Wilson Jennifer Wilson Rukman Wimalasuriya Penny Winbanks Kylie Wingler Michelle Winning Roy Winstanley Frank Winston Frank Winston Jacqui Wise Marcus Wishart Leif Wolf Dominic Wong Tony Wong Lira Woo David Wood Kevin Wood Mark Wood Mark Wood Ian Wooden Debbie Woods Debbie Woods Juliette Woods Ben Woodward Jong Wook Lee Rick Wootton M Wos David Wotton David Wotton Angelene Wright Jeff Wright Ray Wyatt
X Sun Xudong
Y Frank Yan Wei Yan Ang Yang Zhen Yang Mehdi Yasi Qifeng Ye Hui Loi Yiaw Carolyn Young Jeanne Young Rodger Young Ross Young Ross Young Wendy Young William Young Bofu Yu Kwok-Keung Yum Rob Yurisich
Z Jennifer Zadkovich Asif Zaman Elisa Zavadil (nee Howes) Lu Zhang Yongqiang Zhang Senlin Zhou Christoph Zierholz Sylvia Zukowski
Thank You We have endeavoured to acknowledge all people and partners involved with the CRCCH, CRCFE and eWater CRC as far as our research and records have allowed.
We acknowledge and thank all partners to the CRC for Catchment Hydrology, CRC for Freshwater Ecology and eWater CRC, and individuals who have contributed to the research and development of this book. Evolving water management: 20 years of CRC achievement (eWater Cooperative Research Centre 2012) ISBN 978-1-921543-72-2 ÂŠ 2012 eWater Ltd UC Innovation Centre University Drive South Bruce, ACT, 2617, Australia T: +61 2 6201 5168 E: email@example.com www.ewater.com.au Photo by Andrew Sikorski Editors Sue Bushell, Ann Milligan, Jo Webb Art Director Shannon Li Design, typesetting & print management Giraffe Visual Communication Management Pty Ltd Printed by BlueStar Group Printed on Australian made, 100% FSC Recycled Certified, Processed Chlorine Free paper (ISO 14001 Environmental Certification).
Celebrating Australian collaboration through the Catchment Hydrology, Freshwater Ecology and eWater CRCs