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Decision Support System for Environmental Flows

Schematic of the decision suppport system

ANUE led a project for the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) which required the development of a prototype decision support system (DSS) – a computer-based information system supporting organisational decision-making activities – to manage environmental flows for Narran Lakes.

The DSS was needed to integrate the ecological, hydrological and geo-morphological data collected as part of the Narran Ecosystem Project and use it to improve decision-making processes with regards to the Narran and Gwydir wetlands. A secondary purpose of the DSS was to compare scenarios relating water delivery (volume and timing) to ecological outcomes in an effort to provide a transparent and scientifically rigorous decision-making process.   

As part of the initial scoping, ANUedge organised a workshop to identify relevant stakeholders and to clarify the desired structure and function of the DSS. The Narran Ecosystem Project had previously involved community and agency consultation, and so the project team could draw from the existing body of knowledge relevant to the scientific foundation of the DSS project.

A model framework was then developed, and the desired DSS structure and functionality were determined. The developments were then presented for discussion to DECC which, in turn, led to the development of the model platform and structure, as well as the integration of model components.

In developing the model, ANUedge predominantly concentrated on two ecological features, however, functionality was demonstrated for a range of features. Explanatory guides and reports outlining the development procedure, structure and functionality of the DSS were created to assist future use of the system.

At the completion of the project, the prototype DSS model was handed over to DECC which is now able to apply the system to scenarios when making important decisions on environmental flows in the wetlands.

Learn more about this project