A NSW Government website


Surface and river water modelling

We develop, maintain and use models to understand and assess surface water processes and outcomes.

Gwydir River - Image credit: DPIE Sarah Chandler

About surface water modelling

The New South Wales government is responsible for water security in the state. We must manage water sustainably to ensure it meets the needs of the community, industry and the environment.

We model water systems (in particular, our major river systems) to:

  • simulate the volume of water they contain
  • inform water management policy, strategy and planning decisions.

Models can be used for many things, and there are many kinds of models.

We build and use hydrologic planning models.

Clouds reflected on the river with gum trees on the bank. Image credit: Karina Redpath DPE

Learn about how we use models and how reliable they are, and find out how we engage with specialists and communities of practice.

Sun shining on the river with gum tress all around. Image credit: Siv Teh DPE

Determining the model need, defining design criteria and developing a concept and scope all form part of our model planning.

Two men in high vis looking at the river with gum tress all around. Image credit: Siv Teh DPE

Spatial, temporal and storage are the three main types of data we use to build the model.

Manning River at Taree with the bridge in the background . Image credit: Dushmanta Dutta DPE

To build a model we assemble data components into a representation of the river system and its relationships, in line with the model scope.

Oberon Dam releasing water. Image credit: Dushmanta Dutta DPE

We adjust parameters to ensure the model compares with observed data and update the model as technology advances.

Windamere dam on a cloudy day. Image credit: Dushmanta Dutta DPE

We aim to present results clearly and accurately and explain our modelling choices.