Exploring social-hydrology with advanced analytics to enhance long term regional water security
D Baker, M Blumenstein, J Li, J Sayer, S Gosh, R Mahendran, Y Zheng, S Fogelman, C Ferguson
Publication Date (Web): 11 May 2018

The New South Wales (NSW) government has a strong position on data-driven leadership and this also applies to managing water security and its associated infrastructure. To align with the NSW Government objectives to become a world leader in whole of government data analytics and insights, the NSW Department of Industry (DoI) Water embarked on a big data project to provide the NSW Government with a more comprehensive picture of water demand requirements to ensure water security for the population/industries dependent on this essential service. It partnered with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) to provide more advanced and faster data insights to deliver better government and business outcomes to address the complex problem of ensuring future water security for a large economic region 809,444 km2 in size, with a growing population (currently 7.779 Million) and a $500 billion plus p.a. economy with competing challenges and priorities.  

Figure 1
Figure 1: Shows a schematic overview of how the digitised CNAF project was developed including data visualisation outputs.

The project developed a smart decision support tool based on data analytics and data mining that incorporates the datasets currently maintained by DoI Water, and other government departments. It was an interdisciplinary project that combined the emerging field of social- hydrology with advanced analytics and machine learning to deliver a world-first government technology solution of its type. As governments are now required to do more with less, it provides the NSW Government with a higher level of business intelligence to improve water resource management. It rapidly processes data such as hydrological, climate variation, future population growth and industry, social, health and economic-related dynamic information to identify issues, insights and risks to each water source and Local Government Authority (LGA) through a Catchment Needs Assessment Framework (CNAF). The CNAF Digitised System enabled the NSW Government to easily look across the state and identify regions that would collectively benefit from infrastructure upgrades and therefore rationalise the economic costs associated. It prioritises areas for building essential water infrastructure, based on changes in water supply/demand availability due to climate change, industry use and changing population dynamics. This includes ensuring available water supplies for high security and productive economic sectors of NSW and the Australian economy. Through this process the NSW Government can ascertain the environmental, economic and social risks to the community if water demands are not satisfied and pre-emptively mitigate this occurring.  

Click here to read the full paper

Please note: You need to login to access this member-only content.
Not a member? You can purchase the paper in our Online Document Library.