Research unlocks the power of data in water management

The NSW Smart Sensing Network (NSSN) has brought together universities and 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 joined the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) to test new technologies and data modeling techniques to improve state-of-the-art water management capacity.

Mitchell Isaacs, Director of Knowledge at DPE Water, 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 better understand the complexity of natural water systems. The results of this study have shed light on ways to improve our global 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 investigated a range of integrated technologies from quantum sensors capable of mapping underground aquifers to low-cost sensors collecting highly localized data that address Australia’s large distance problem and satellite imagery remote sensing.

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

ANU researchers led two sub-projects under the program, including local gravity sensing and satellite gravity measurements of Australian water data from NASA satellites to show the continental-scale gravitational pull of water, revealing new insights into how water moves across the landscape.

Researchers from Macquarie University, experts in low-cost monitoring, have demonstrated the utility of high spatial resolution sensing using low-cost sensors.

UNSW researchers provided a wealth of background knowledge on all aspects of hydrology and investigated aquifer recharge mechanisms.

Probabilistic modeling was conducted by the University of Sydney’s ARC Training Center in Data Analysis for Resources and Environments, which provided insight into how uncertainty around water measurements can be addressed .

To view the final project report, please click here.


The NSSN is a not-for-profit innovation network funded by the Government of New South Wales through the Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer of New South Wales. The NSSN brings together academia, industry and government to translate world-class research into innovative smart sensing solutions that create value for the economy, environment and society of NSW and beyond.

/Public release. This material from the original organization/authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors.

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