Modelling Surface Water Flow in The Lower Campaspe Catchment

By Yinli Wang, The Australian National University 

Water resource is essential to human’s survival and is also affecting many aspects of our life, including economics, health, and environment. Australia is one of the driest country in the world and yet the annual average water consumption per capita is among the highest. The largest two uses of water are agricultural and domestic use. More than half of the country is classified as desert or semi-desert which means it has little or no annual rainfall in these areas. This makes water resource management for agricultural, domestic, industrial use an even more significant challenge in Australia than many other countries.

How is rainfall affecting the streamflows? How much water is available in Australia? How can we better distribute and store the water?

It is very important for the policies makers to understand these questions in order to make more informed decisions about making regulation policies on water use and planning. Reliable estimates of streamflows become increasingly important in assisting policy makers. Here, mathematical modelling comes into use.

As part of an integrated model carried out by the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) Strategic Research Partnership, which is combining hydrology, ecology, agriculture, economics, ecology and social science, my summer project mainly focused on developing a model to estimate the streamflow in the lower Campaspe catchments. The Campaspe River is located in the Northern Victoria State of Australia. The river rises from the Dividing Range, joined with the most significant tributary Coliban River, and is dammed to form the Lake Eppalock. The river then meets its convergence with the Murray River located adjacent to the state border between Victoria and New South Wales. According to the MDBA report Sustainable Rivers Audit 2 (2012), the ecosystem health condition of the Campaspe River is rated as “very poor”. The main reason is overuse of the water resource as 49% of the total streamflow leaves the basin and cannot flow into the Murray River. By estimating the streamflow in the lower Campaspe region, we can better understand how the streamflow is affected by factors such as rainfall, evaporation. Further details about the model can be found in my report.


Yinli Wang was one of the recipients of a 2015/16 AMSI Vacation Research Scholarship.

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