Surface water in Queensland is a valuable resource that creates value for landholders when it is extracted and irrigated on crops and for aquatic ecosystems when it is left in-situ.
In Queensland, DNRM is the agency responsible for balancing the conflicting needs of these two stakeholders. Historically, this has been achieved by compromise, by limiting extraction to preserve environmental base flows.
There is growing scientific knowledge of the needs of aquatic ecosystems which indicates that the timing of flows is as important as the volume of flow (DNRM 2016).
This paper describes a method by which ecosystem flow needs can be managed using a combination of sensors and visual inspection, and allowing flows to be dynamically varied by applying complex rule systems discharged through a cloud platform to maximise the health outcomes for aquatic ecosystems without reducing the total water available for seasonal irrigation.