Melbourne Water: A Diverse User of Hydrographic Data

Jess Egan and Michael O’Hagan - Melbourne Water , 30 October, 2014

Melbourne Water is a statutory authority owned by the Victorian government. We manage water supply catchments, treat and supply drinking and recycled water, remove and treat most of Melbourne’s sewage, and manage waterways and major drainage systems in the Port Phillip and Westernport region. We deliver a variety of projects and services to lessen flood risk.

Given these important functions, Melbourne Water has identified the value of hydrography to our business, and as such allocates resources and expenditure for the provision of a dense hydrographic monitoring network across the natural and urban catchments in our area of jurisdiction.

The Hydrology and Flood Warning Team within Melbourne Water is charged with maintaining this network and providing high quality fit for purpose data, which assists the organisation to achieve its vision of Enhancing Life and Liveability for the people and community of Melbourne.

Our hydrographic data is widely used across the business to manage such programs as river diversion licences, strategic planning for future growth, operational purposes, water supply monitoring, sewage transfer, bulk water entitlements, environmental flows and flood warning and response.

Managing our own network of sites allows us to be one of the few organisations in Australia to generate our own flood warnings which are issued in conjunction with the Bureau of Meteorology. The Hydrology and Flood Warning team is made up of Hydrographers, Data Engineers and Hydrologists working together and monitoring the network 24 hours a day to provide this vital service to Greater Melbourne.

In the ensuing paper we briefly discuss the importance of Hydrography in Melbourne Water, the history of flood warning in Melbourne and explain the comprehensive process developed to deal with flood incidents.