A Process-based River System Model at a Continental Scale for Water Accounting.

Dushmanta Dutta, Shaun Kim, Jai Vaze, Ang Yang, Justin Hughes

Thursday 2 july 2015

11:30 - 11:45h at Central America (level 0)

Themes: (T) Water resources and hydro informatics (WRHI), (ST) Catchment hydrology

Parallel session: 11H. Water resources - Catchment

Existing global and continental scale river models, mainly designed for integrating with global climate models, are of very course spatial resolutions and they lack many important hydrological processes, such as overbank flow, irrigation diversion, groundwater seepage/recharge, which operate at a much finer resolution. Thus, these models are not suitable for producing streamflow forecast at fine spatial resolution and water accounts at sub-catchment levels, which are important for water resources planning and management at regional and national scale. A large-scale river system model has been developed and implemented for water accounting in Australia as part of the Water Information Research and Development Alliance between Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and CSIRO. The model, developed using node-link architecture, includes all major hydrological processes, anthropogenic water utilisation and storage routing that influence the streamflow in both regulated and unregulated river systems. It includes an irrigation model to compute water diversion for irrigation use and associated fluxes and stores and a storage-based floodplain inundation model to compute overbank flow from river to floodplain and associated floodplain fluxes and stores. An auto-calibration tool has been built within the modelling system to automatically calibrate the model in large river systems using Shuffled Complex Evolution optimiser and user-defined objective functions. The auto-calibration tool makes the model computationally efficient and practical for large basin applications. The model has been implemented in several large basins in Australia including the Murray-Darling Basin, covering more than 2 million km2. The results of calibration and validation of the model shows highly satisfactory performance. The model has been operationalised in BoM for producing various fluxes and stores for national water accounting. This paper introduces this newly developed river system model describing the conceptual hydrological framework, methods used for representing different hydrological processes in the model and the results and evaluation of the model performance. The operational implementation of the model for water accounting is discussed.