TRaCK: Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

Science and knowledge that governments, communities, industries for sustainable use of Australia's tropical rivers and estuaries

Management tool assists Northern Territory water resource planning staff

Management tool assists Northern Territory water resource planning staff

Management tool assists Northern Territory water resource planning staff

TRaCK has developed scientific knowledge in a range of areas including ecology, socio-economy, and river hydrology in the wet-dry tropics of northern Australia.

We live in a world where many processes are highly connected. To plan and manage our natural resources effectively we need to take those connections into account by integrating the knowledge developed by different scientific disciplines such as economics, ecology, and hydrology and applying the knowledge to management decisions. For instance, we may want to look at how water allocation plans may affect fish habitats and our economy.

TRaCK has adapted a framework known as Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) to help resource managers analyse various management options, and clearly view the trade-offs.

The MSE:

  • Integrates the knowledge developed by various scientific disciplines and that of resource management agencies.
  • Is explicit about uncertainties in resource management, such as the inter-annual variability of rain, and actively support the adaptive management approach to better deal with these.
  • Provides the functionality to define and evaluate a broad range of management options and to examine the results in a rigorous and consistent way.

How is it being used?

Government resource planners and managers have the difficult task of conserving and managing water resources in a transparent, equitable and sustainable manner. This is carried out through the development of water allocation plans and water management activities, collection of information through monitoring, and assessments of the condition of the jurisdiction’s water resources.

Throughout 2011-12, the project team refined the MSE models and software to evaluate management strategies for the Daly River catchment, in close collaboration with Northern Territory Government water managers. The Daly River MSE is now capable of evaluating a range of complex scenarios, and during the synthesis year was used to support evidence-based decision-making in water-related resource management. The fact that the model can save scenarios as evidence of rationale at the time decisions are made is seen as a major benefit. 

The water planners assessed the MSE software’s practical use and concluded that the model would be a useful tool to inform internal and external stakeholders, support integrated outcomes and assist the government in making planning and licence decisions in the Daly River Catchment. The water planners intended to use the MSE in the review of water allocation plans for the Tindall and Oolloo aquifers.

Daly Catchment Management Strategy Evaluation
Daly Catchment Management Strategy Evaluation