Murray Flow Assessment Tool
The Murray Flow Assessment Tool (MFAT)was developed to support the Scientific Expert Panel to undertake an assessment of three proposed environmental flow reference points for the Living Murray Initiative. It assesses the impact/benefits of different flow scenarios on the condition of physical habitat for native fish, waterbirds and vegetation communities and the growth of algal blooms for the River Murray system. It uses daily river flows as the primary input to a number of ecological models that are largely parameterized on the basis of expert knowledge. It integrates the assessments across spatial scales ranging from a single locality to the entire river system. The results can then be used to facilitate an informed trade-off process between environmental and human flow requirements.
It is based on the Environmental Flows Decision Support System (EFDSS) developed by CSIRO Land and Water and Environment Canada. The associated databases were populated by the CRC for Freshwater Ecology and members of the Regional Evaluation Groups established by the Murray Darling Basin Commission.
The model treats the floodplain system as a series of storages and pipes and simulates the river system by running daily flows through the configuration of storages and pipes. Species preferences are combined with the river flow information to give a habitat condition score for that species and flow data.
To develop a model for another river system would require software licences, computer hardware, programmers, scientific experts and a Scientific Reference Panel.
Re-running the MFAT requires a read-write version and license of the tool, available from the Murray Darling Basin Commission.
The read-write version for the Murray River system can be run quickly for different scenarios.
Daily river flows, water storages (floodplain, billabong/lagoon, riverine lake) volume and area information, preference curves for reliance of a particular biota on environmental conditions and other ecological information.
The existing tool is useful for natural resource managers in the River Murray system. A similar tool would be useful for management of large catchments with conflicts between environmental flows and human use.
Young, W.J., Scott, A.C., Cuddy, S.M. and Rennie, B.A. (2003) Murray Flow Assessment Tool - a technical description. Client Report, 2003. CSIRO Land and Water, Canberra.
Last updated: 22 March 2013
This page should be cited as:
Murray Flow Assessment Tool, WetlandInfo 2006, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Queensland, viewed 7 April 2016, .