MDB Water Information Portal gets upgrade

The Bureau of Meteorology's third version of the Murray–Darling Basin Water Information Portal (MDB WIP) includes a new river schematics feature to support Basin portal users in decision-making.

The Bureau of Meteorology has launched the third version of the Murray–Darling Basin Water Information Portal (MDB WIP). It includes a new river schematics feature to support Basin portal users in decision-making.

The information portal is being developed over five main version releases rolled out over three years. The newly released third version further supports communities and water users through greater transparency and better access to information.

The web-based portal includes water availability, water in storage, allocation volumes, water trade and prices, and weather and climate information for the Basin.

The portal combines current and historical information users can search by town, river, catchment or current location. It creates a central place for water information for this important agricultural region.

Bureau of Meteorology General Manager Agriculture and Water, Matthew Coulton, said version 3 includes the new feature of river schematics for five major catchments, providing detailed information on river flow and water availability for the Gwydir, Namoi, Macquarie-Castlereagh, Lachlan and Murrumbidgee river catchments.

“There is a diverse range of people living in the Basin. The Bureau aims to create a product that meets diverse requirements. Many of our customers have told us that these river schematics are useful tools to understand how water flows through a catchment. This is our first release of these maps. We are asking for further feedback to incorporate improvements and extend to other catchments across the Basin,” he said.

The portal is regularly updated in response to user feedback. For version 3, this community-led design process also resulted in the inclusion of the following:

  • current and historical water quality information
  • water markets data provided at the trading zone level

What does the Water Information Portal provide?

The water markets data includes reasons for trade and strike dates, where state government authorities have been able to provide it. This information is an important contribution to delivering the Australian Government’s Water market reform roadmap.

Mr Coulton said the Murray–Darling Basin Water Information Portal had been designed in consultation with Basin communities. The Bureau will continue to seek feedback throughout the development of subsequent versions to ensure it meets user needs.

“The Bureau is taking a community-led approach to designing a platform that meets the requirements of an extensive user base. Our customers include community groups, Indigenous people, farmers, recreational water users, and other interested groups. We are trying to build something they will all benefit from,” he said.

Phil Duncan, Gomeroi Nation Indigenous man and Chair of the Murray-Darling Basin Community Committee, said the portal is easy to understand and navigate.

“It means that all people have access to the same information at the same time. It builds a more confident understanding of the water that moves through different jurisdictions, catchments, towns and communities. I think it’s a tool that can build stronger relationships, and it is a great conversation starter,” he said.

The Bureau is developing the portal in partnership with the Murray–Darling Basin Authority, the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, and Basin state governments.

Version 1 of the MDB WIP was launched in June 2021, and version 2 in June 2022.

Versions 4 and 5 will be released in 2023.

Basin communities should stay updated with the latest forecast and warnings on the Bureau’s website or weather app. Follow all advice from their local emergency services on what to do before, during and after severe weather.

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