Ecological monitoring to support Water Sharing Plan evaluation and protect wetlands of inland New South Wales, Australia


  • Patrick D. Driver,

  • Allan Raine,

  • Neal D. Foster,

  • Simon A. Williams


Government-funded flow response monitoring and modelling programmes (flow science) provided by the New South Wales Office of Water (NOW) have supported water resource management since 1997. Flow science has a core technical component defined by hypothesis-driven long-term monitoring and analysis, but it also represents many activities that support committees involved in environmental flow management. This is done through collaborations and contracting and has fostered considerable research and analysis into flow ecology, including modelling for the recent Murray–Darling Basin Plan. We describe the performance of environmental flows against legislated wetland objectives to improve wetland function and diversity using flow science. On-ground monitoring at wetland sites has largely ceased but the flow science done so far indicates that the environmental flow rules written into Water Sharing Plans improve wetland diversity and function. Determination of the long-term flow needs of NSW wetlands, including how well current Water Sharing Plans aid the delivery of environmental flows, requires finding the means to build on current flow science knowledge from across Australia.