Tassie water management system in the spotlight

Posted 15 September 2016

Water management system The integrated water management system used at Tasmanian Irrigation's Meander Dam has made the finals of the state's Australian Engineering Excellence Awards.

The system was developed by Entura to provide accurate and easy-to-use information, allowing Tasmanian Irrigation (TI) to manage its water storage and associated hydropower facility.

“Entura’s solution incorporates a novel integration of inputs producing an easy-to-interpret, customised decision-support platform via a cloud-based service,” said Entura Director Power and Water Angus Swindon.

“Real-time rainfall and flow monitoring data is fed into the system via a network of catchment telemetry, and then combined with short-term and long-term Bureau of Meteorology forecasts and a hydrological model of the catchment.”

Via a dashboard interface, TI gets an up-to-date picture of the dam’s status and the probability of various short-term and long-term scenarios relating to storage level and hydropower output.

Real-time information from water meters on pumps within the irrigation area is also brought into a dashboard to give operators a complete picture of water balance in the area serviced by the dam.

TI CEO Nicola Morris said the system had proven its worth.

“Access to such robust and reliable information supports appropriate management decision making, such as whether and when to release water, and the extent and timing of hydropower operation,” she said.

“Increased hydropower operation reaps a dual benefit from the valuable water resource, helping to offset our operational costs, enabling greater delivery of service throughout Tasmania, benefiting not only the local community but the whole Tasmanian agricultural sector.”

The system had also improved outcomes for irrigators, Morris said.

“The value created by the water management system was particularly evident during the 2015/16 irrigation season, in which the region experienced below-average rainfall that resulted in reduced inflows into Meander Dam and increased demand for water supply to irrigators,” she said.

“We were able to match demand from predicted storage levels, fulfilling irrigator expectations and retaining sufficient storage capacity to be able to extend the delivery for an additional month.

“This ensured that irrigators were able to finish final crops and also maintain pasture growth for livestock and dairy activities.”

TI’s system was named in the 'Control Systems, Networks, Information Processing and Telecommunications' category of the awards.