Smart sensing powers data in water management

Smart sensing powers data in water management

The NSW Smart Sensing Network (NSSN) has brought together universities with government partners to unlock new insights into NSW water data using innovative approaches.

Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU), Macquarie University, UNSW and the University of Sydney have joined the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) to trial new technologies and data modelling techniques to enhance the state’s world-leading water management capability.

DPE Water Chief Knowledge Officer Mitchell Isaacs said: “Exploring new technologies means we can better serve the community in a rapidly changing environment. The unprecedented weather events of recent years have highlighted the need to understand the complexities of natural water systems better. The outcomes of this study have shed light on ways we can improve our world-leading water monitoring network.”

NSSN co-Director Professor Benjamin Eggleton said: “The collaboration has brought together leading researchers to develop a holistic solution to water management. The team has investigated a range of integrated technologies. It ranges from quantum sensors capable of mapping underground aquifers to low-cost sensors collecting highly localised data. They respond to the problem of great distances in Australia and remote sensing through satellite imaging.”

Associate Professor Willem Vervoort, Director of the ARC Training Centre in Data Analytics for Resources and Environments (DARE), said: “Cumulatively, this work has demonstrated the importance of collaboration between multidisciplinary research teams working in close harmony with government agencies. Through continued and regular discussions between the partners, the project has produced a roadmap to improve NSW’s integrated and evidence-based water resources management.”

Findings from smart sensing research

Researchers from ANU have led two sub-projects in the program. Their projects included local gravity sensing and satellite gravity measurements of Australian water data from NASA satellites. They showed the gravitational pull of water at a continent-wide scale, revealing new information.

Macquarie University researchers, who are experts in low-cost monitoring, demonstrated the utility of high spatial resolution sensing using low-cost sensors.

UNSW researchers have provided a wealth of background knowledge on all aspects of hydrology. It have led an investigation into the recharge mechanisms of aquifers.

The University of Sydney’s ARC Training Centre in Data Analytics for Resources and Environments conducted probabilistic modelling. It yielded insights into how uncertainty around water measurements can be addressed.

To view the Project Final Report, please click here.

The NSSN is a not-for-profit Innovation Network funded by the NSW Government through the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer. The NSSN brings together universities, industry and government to translate world-class research into innovative smart sensing solutions. These outcomes create value for NSW’s economy, environment and society and beyond.

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