Hydrology and water resources

The team of engineers at the Water Research Laboratory have specialist expertise to provide solutions for critical water resource issues.

Newcastle flood model

This includes the hydrology and quality of runoff in urban catchments, water budgeting, reservoir operations, environmental flows and the sedimentation, geomorphology, and flooding of rivers.

With a strong foundation in the fundamentals, WRL is well placed to make proper use of hydrological models, to understand their strengths and weaknesses and to ensure models are properly calibrated and interpreted. WRL combines these skills with the other expert services of groundwater and civil engineering hydraulics to provide an overall study of water resources.

Recent studies have concentrated on the water quality of road runoff, harvesting of catchment runoff in a western reservoir, environmental flow regimes to protect riverine ecology, design of a sediment trap slot to reduce riverine sediment loads, and improvement of water quality in drinking water reservoirs through management and engineering options.


Key areas

  • Hydrology and water quality in urban and rural catchments
  • Flow, sediment transport and geomorphic behaviour of rivers
  • Environmental flows
  • Reservoir dynamics and water quality
  • Floodplain modelling
  • Flood risk & hazard assessment
  • Water budgets 

Typical projects 

Ok Tedi and Fly Rivers 

  • 2D Hydrodynamic modelling
  • Sediment transport modelling
  • Assessment of sediment management options 

Launceston flood protection scheme 

  • Numerical modelling of Tamar, North Esk and South Esk rivers
  • Evaluation of performance of existing levee system 

Cabramatta Creek

  • Unsteady 2D hydrodynamic modelling
  • Catchment-wide design flood levels and extents 

Mooloolah River 

  • 2D hydrodynamic modelling
  • Evaluation of flow behaviour and velocities
  • Assessment of potential for scour and erosion 

Scale car physical model in floodwayStephens Creek, Broken Hill 

  • Water level and rainfall monitoring
  • Water harvesting in Stephens Creek Reservoir 

Hawkesbury/Nepean River 

  • Environmental flows
  • Saline dynamics
  • Algal dynamics
  • Stratification of weir pools 

Thornleigh Reservoir 

  • 3D Stratified flow modelling
  • Water age
  • Assessment of management options
  • Assessment of engineering options 

A complete list of relevant projects undertaken can be supplied upon request.