Conceptual modeling and hydrological characteristics of Coleambally irrigation area

Jason Carroll, Muhammad Asghar, Yun Chen, Akhtar Abbas, Shahbaz Khan, Tariq Rana

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

The main objective of water cycle management is to identify opportunities in the regional water cycle which could lead to improved water productivity as well as environmental benefits (CRC IF, 2006). The conceptualization of the hydrological and biophysical environment of the region under consideration is one of the challenges and the first milestone to achieve this objective. This report presents the outcomes of activities undertaken under the water cycle management program for the Coleambally Irrigation Area (CIA): (i) to develop a conceptual model based on the available datasets covering different aspects of the hydrological and biophysical environment of the region, and (ii) to quantify the hydrologic characteristics of the region with particular emphasis on water (quantity) and material fluxes (quality). A brief description is also given in this report, to introduce the salient features of the study area.The developed 3-D conceptual model is a simplified representation of the essential features of the irrigation system, which allows simple and clear visual representation of the complex natural systems and processes in the CIA. It allows the system to be easily understood by both technical and non-technical interested parties, especially stakeholders. It brings together numerous and diverse relevant data sets to provide a data platform and a means of further quantitative analysis, both in itself and using hydro-geological software such as MODFLOW. Particularly in the context of the CIA, the developed 3-D conceptual model can serve as a base for developing frameworks for analysis to address the following research tasks identified to secure regional business opportunities in the CIA under the System HarmonisationTM program:' Water accounting with improved evapotranspiration (ET) and regional groundwater information for better planning, assessing and managing water resources under different supply and demand scenarios.' Understanding surface-groundwaterUsing GIS-based SWAGMAN Destiny to help understand the impacts of seasonality of flows, climate variability and crop choices (winter and summer cropping) to improve productivity in Coleambally.This final report on the water accounting framework for the Coleambally Irrigation Area includes the findings of the following work carried out:' The methodology and tools used for developing a conceptual model capable of bringing the numerous and diverse relevant data sets together to provide a data platform and a means of further quantitative analysis both in itself and in hydro-geological software such as MODFLOW. The final report includes examples of using the conceptual model to explain and verify the assumptions made in the hydrological characterisation of the Coleambally Irrigation Area.' Use of remote sensing/GIS techniques to modify the water accounting method with improved ET and regional groundwater information for better planning, assessing and managing of water resources under different supply and demand scenarios. There is a need to ensure the sustainability of the CRC IF's scientific work in the CIA beyond its project life, through continuous stakeholder engagement and future funding to harness new opportunities in the Coleambally region. The next frontier for the project team is to upscale the model to other irrigation areas across Australia where financial resources permit. Such upscaling will be the main contribution to knowledge and key scientific advance in water resources management with win-win outcomes for Australian communities and the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationToowoomba, QLD
PublisherCRC for Irrigation Futures
Number of pages45
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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