Standardising Australia’s Water Information — a way forward

Brendan Moran, Alan Baker, Rob Smalley - Bureau of Meteorology , 22 October, 2010

The Bureau is by virtue of its national water information role a pivotal player in the water information standards area and has key legislative, business and community drivers that would be advanced by standardisation in information collection, transfer and management. The Bureau has a strong interest in working with industry to achieve these outcomes and is also attentive to repeated calls from industry, in fora all around the country, to be pro-active in standards development.

For the Bureau the primary interest is at the reporting end of the water information value chain. Its focus is on interoperability of data to increase its comparability and consistency and to support aggregation and development of value-added products. Industry partners in this initiative would need to also identify their drivers and the areas of the value chain where they would wish to focus effort. While this document emphasises the Bureau areas of interest as an example, for standards development to proceed in a co-operative model it is imperative that the standards development work be driven by the whole industry and across the whole value chain.

The Bureau proposes to initiate a forum to discuss standards development and will also host an expert group to maintain momentum in increasing standardisation. The vehicle for achieving this standardisation may include one or a combination of international standards, National Water Information Standards or state based standards. From this forum should emerge a national committee on standards development with representation from the major water data collecting organisations. Development processes, governance and maintenance of standards will all need to be agreed.