The Value of Consistent Hydrometric Monitoring Practices

Kemachandra Ranatunga, Linton Johnston, Alex Cornish, Philip Douglas, Carla Mooney and Soori Sooriyakumaran - Bureau of Meteorology , 01 April, 2019

Standardisation provides significant benefits to the water monitoring industry including national and state organisations. The Bureau of Meteorology, under the Commonwealth Water Act 2007 functions, promotes standardised practices in hydrometric monitoring across Australia, in collaboration with organisations that collect water information.

Two areas, where the Bureau relies heavily on data from diverse sources, are in assembling consistent and transparent national water information, and in protecting the community through flood forecasting and warning. In both these areas, the Bureau is promoting standardisation of data networks through the National Industry Guidelines for Hydrometric Monitoring (NIGLs) and through the Flood Warning Infrastructure Standard (FWIS – currently in draft), respectively.   

Initially published by the Bureau in 2013 and updated in 2019 the NIGLs present recommended Australian industry practices for hydrometric monitoring. They have recently been reviewed to ensure that they remain up-to-date with technological advancements. Concurrently, the Bureau is leading the development of FWIS, which is part of a set of measures intended to place flood warning services on a sustainable and robust footing for the long term. It will address the key issues of fit-for-purpose development of flood warning infrastructure, and the need for national consistency and coordination for risk based investment in these networks. Performance based FWIS will be recommended for endorsement in April 2019.

Those responsible for hydrometric monitoring need to be aware of both the NIGLs and the upcoming FWIS, and understand the implications of bringing them into practice. The paper will outline the relationship between the standards and discuss the areas of commonality and difference. It will also explore how together they will help achieve the goals of consistent practices and interoperable data.