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Decision Support Tools

Decision Support Tools

Healthy Waterways is committed to continually improving our knowledge base and to the development of decision support tools to assist stakeholders in achieving natural resource management outcomes for the future.

Decision support tools such as the Environmental Management Support System (EMSS) and Receiving Water Quality Model (RWQM) for the estuaries and Moreton Bay are useful to evaluate the effectiveness of the actions which are being carried out to improve water quality. They also help stakeholders determine sustainable loads and set achievable environmental targets for waterway management. 

Regional EMSS

The Environmental Management Support System (EMSS) is developed to assist the management of water quality across the south-east Queensland region. It estimates daily runoff and daily pollutant loads from 175 catchments in the 23000 square kilometre region and the storage and transport of runoff and pollutant loads to the receiving waters.

The model estimates are sensitive to changes in climate, storage operations, land use and land management practices. The main use of EMSS is to estimate current runoff and pollutant loads and assess the impact of changes in land use and land management practices on runoff and pollutant export loads. There are nine land use categories in the EMSS excluding water. More
Local Scale EMSS

The Local Scale EMSS (LEMSS) is a model of catchment runoff, water quality and stream ecology as applied to the Pine Rivers region of South East Queensland. This region includes the catchments of Samsonvale and Kurwongbah. The purpose of the LEMSS is to predict daily total sediment and nutrient loads delivered to the reservoirs. In addition to predicting runoff and pollutant fluxes through the river network, the LEMSS predicts some basic measures of aquatic ecosystem health in each segment of river network represented in the model.

Three health indices are used, based on the five primary indices developed under the South East Queensland Regional Freshwater Environmental Health and Monitoring Program, these include physio-chemical health, nutrient health, and ecosystem health. The LEMSS is intended to be used both as a predictive tool, and as a framework for communicating key aspects of catchment and stream management in the Pine Rivers region.

E2 is a whole-of-catchment modelling system which is an extension of the EMSS concept. It is a tool used to predict the hydrologic behaviour of large catchments with respect to contaminant loads by modelling the movement of various pollutants around a catchment. A range of inputs are used in the model including topography, climate and land use/cover. Based on the input factors, the model produces the likely movement of pollutants. E2 was designed to allow the rapid addition of new components e.g. if a new pollutant needed to be modelled this could be easily added to the system. More

The Receiving Water Quality Model

The Receiving Water Quality Model (RWQM) has been used to predict the impacts of future management practices. The RWQM is a state-of-the-art representation of the processes occurring in Bay. This model was used to generate a number of management scenarios as requested by the South East Queensland Regional Water Quality Management Strategy. Chlorophyll and suspended sediment were used as water quality indicators for these management scenarios.

The scenarios include total annual loads of nutrients and sediments to Moreton Bay, the effects of population increase, the impacts of upgrades to wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), the impacts of the removal of selected WWTPs, the contribution of point source, non-point source and resuspension to suspended sediment loads in the Bay and the efficiency of Stormwater Quality Improvement Devices (SQIDs).

The RWQM has been used to assist local and State Government with catchment management. In addition to running management scenarios for the SEQ Healthy Waterways Strategy, the RWQM has been used by our partners for: scenarios on the water quality aspects of land use planning, modelling concentrations of microorganisms in the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay, simulating potential impacts of nutrient-laden dredge spoil disposal, wastewater treatment plant upgrades, estimating flushing timescales of the Bay, modelling flows in the bay and implications of new water supply infrastructure, e.g. Western Corridor Water Recycling project. More