Providing water to the Coorong is vital for restoring its ecological values.
To improve certainty that the delivery of water to the Coorong will achieve its intended purpose, sophisticated forecasting and modelling tools are necessary.
These tools will allow site operators to effectively plan and manage the use of water for environmental purposes and ensure that the water available is used in an efficient manner.
Monitoring data is critical for maintaining the ecological character of the Coorong. The majority of the ecological character of the Coorong, and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Ramsar Wetland is directly determined by the volume, timing and quality of water passing through the site.
Data collected needs to reflect these parameters, be spatially representative, and be of adequate quality to enable decision makers to:
- detect change in ecological character (both positive and negative) in response to climate, inflows and environmental flow decisions
- provide timely responses to ecological risks
- make evidence based (and adaptive) site management decisions, including environmental water planning and use, and focused assessment of outcomes of management actions and impacts on ecological character.
What we are doing
Expansion of the existing Coorong water quality monitoring network, coupled with the development of a new automated forecasting tool will provide improved data that will be used to inform environmental water and other management decisions. It will also enable more accurate reporting on the overall health of the Coorong and Lakes.
To guide decisions about managing flows to the Coorong, improved modelling tools are being developed to forecast how the environment will respond to different decisions, and how much water will be available from the River Murray and the South East. Targeted monitoring is needed to inform these tools, ensure they are accurate and support water managers to get the best results from the water available.
An improved network of monitoring devices is being installed to continuously measure water quality, flow rates, depth and temperature, as well as weather conditions across the Coorong. The data collected from these monitoring devices will feed into a new online tool that will also capture information on weather conditions, ecological modelling and historical monitoring data, and will help water managers to get the best results with the water available.
A historical record of the volume and timing of water releases through the barrages, and the conditions, monitoring data, and ecological modelling that the decision was based on will be available to the community through a new online portal. This is expected to be available in the first half of 2022.